Pink On the Spectrum

14 July 2023


27 August 2023
Sexyland World
A brain and a gender that won’t conform to the norm often go hand in hand. As diverse as the queer community is in terms of gender, so it is in terms of neurodiversity. That’s why, in advance of Queer Pride 2023, No Limits! Art Castle turned literally and figuratively pink for six weeks!

Exhibition by Alex Naber & ChelseaBoy
Artist Alex Naber and performance artist ChelseaBoy have been working together on our initiative for some time now. For example, they exhibited with us in Mexico City in  December 2022. For Pink on the Spectrum they further developed their existing project PINK with various costumes, paintings, photos and a film in collaboration with Willem Timmers. During the opening they gave a spectacular performance to introduce their work. 

Neurodiverse Queer Party
The opening of Pink on the Spectrum in the club of Sexyland on July 14th was a big party for and by the neurodiverse queer community. For this event we worked together with Special Social Club and BODY, who specialize in club nights for people with and without disabilities. With performances by Alex Naber & ChelseaBoy, Mama Queen, Nina 666, Joe Hendrix, Jonathan de Regt, Xtra, Clara Saito, Eli Express, Miss BB Bellyhood, Special Social Club with DJ Jess and MC Perez + DJ Bobo, BODY with DJ Lola Edo and DJ Diora

Side program
We had an outdoor exhibition with several neurodiverse queer makers on the terrace of Sexyland World, a special night of Super Queer Amsterdam and a series of 1-day exhibition with Saturday Guest Artists Brent Wiersma, Yinkz, Myrthe Kamoen, Michiel Teeuw en Latoyah Burlace.

Queer Amsterdam Sexyland No Limits! Art Castle Pink on the Spectrum Super Queer Night
Friday July 28th we celebrated not only all our diversity in gender and sexuality, but also all the different ways our brains work, and how these sides of us come together.
The evening was hosted by Aynouk Tan, with performances and interviews with Bruin Parry and Simomo Bouj, Alex Naber and Chelseaboy, Shola Superstar, Stephen Tayo, Michiel Teeuw, Cosmia Absurd, Dakota Magdalen Mokhammad, Yinkz, BeBe and Kassange. Especially for this evening Stephen Tayo has his own photo studio in sexyland where you as a visitor can have yourself photographed by him. Cosmia Absurd did tarrot card readings. 

Text Pink on the Spectrum
Written by Susan Kooi 

No Limits! Art Castle shows that pink knows no boundaries in the new exhibition ‘Pink on the Spectrum’ by Alex Naber and ChelseaBoy.

Alex Naber is a poet, artist, writer, and rapper with Down syndrome. She has written scripts for films and musicals, as well as the book ‘Alex is a Girls’ Name.’ ChelseaBoy is the drag name of multidisciplinary artist Brian van der Heijden, exploring topics such as identity, gender, and sexuality.

Pink is still associated with femininity, and as often happens with things associated with femininity, it is looked down upon. Alex Naber and ChelseaBoy celebrate this color in all its shades. It is the color of flamingos, tongues, queerness, shrimp, punk, Barbie, and cherry blossoms. Modest soft pink on the one hand and blazing neon-porn pink on the other are their favorite shades. This contrast also reflects the artists themselves, who describe themselves as introverts but with a very extrovert side. In the studio, they sometimes work quietly together for hours, but they can also go all out in their performances.

Since 2021, Alex and ChelseaBoy have been collaborating regularly. It started with Alex’s rap, dressed in a bright pink dress made in collaboration with fashion designer Hardeman, performing at the Melkweg for Outsider Wear. For a second performance, ChelseaBoy did her hair and makeup. Later, they made a video together on the beach, dressed in princess dresses by Jacob Kok. They traveled to Mexico, where they met their transgender idols and exhibited their work. For ‘Pink on the Spectrum,’ they create a shared universe. The pink thread in this project is freedom: the freedom to be oneself, to experiment with what that could be, questioning norms, and letting go of prejudices and expectations.

During their meetings they transform everything into pink, including each other. Besides pink, they also share a passion for drag. Drag is for them an instrument to discover a part of themselves and each other. ChelseaBoy has a fascination with extraterrestrial beings and science fiction, in which they can explore the experience of “not fitting in” and “being different.” As an Almere lesbian trans woman with Down syndrome, Alex too had few people in her environment who had a different gender experience up until recently, and she felt the need for more people from the queer and trans world around her. ChelseaBoy has helped her a lot with this, and in return, ChelseaBoy learns a great deal from Alex’s courage and confidence in the process. Drag brings together various disciplines such as music, text, performance, styling, and film. This freedom and versatility align with their light-hearted way of collaborating. When they transform each other into drag, they laugh a lot, like when Alex turned ChelseaBoy into Spongebob, “because Brian and Spongebob both have square heads.” That is another pink thread, the immense joy they share in the creative process.

Pink is cozy and about having fun together. Pink is rebellious and subversive. Pink is empowerment and confidence. All these aspects of the pink spectrum are incredibly important, especially now that anti-queer sentiments are resurfacing. This summer, we are all going pink; it is the time of ‘Barbie the movie’ and ‘Pink on the Spectrum’. Pink is the color that connects us. As Janelle Monáe sings in the song “Pynk”,  deep inside, we’re all just pink.