“African Americans have been wrongly arrested for as long as I can remember,” Flash said. Now 61, Flash has been on the front lines of activism since the 1980s, when she came to prominence as a member of ACT UP, appearing in the 1989 “Kissing Doesn’t Kill” poster campaign. Around that time, she also developed her signature cross-color photography style to challenge stereotypes about race, gender, and sexuality in a life-or-death fight against the U.S. government during the AIDS epidemic.
Thirty years later, Flash is ready for battle once again with “syzygy, the vision,” an ongoing self-portrait series where the artist transforms herself into a representation of every Black person subjected to the horrors of racism, sexism, and homophobia. The series takes its name from an astronomical term for where the sun, earth, moon, and/or planets align to create an eclipse. Flash adopts this straight-line configuration to contemplate the pasts, presents, and futures of Black people across time and space.