Joy Yamusangie’s new exhibition Feeling Good explores gender euphoria through jazz

In a release, Joy continues: “I was inspired by the main character in the book Trumpet by Jackie Kay which I later learnt was based on the real life story of musician Billy Tipton. Thinking of how music, specifically Jazz, allowed both the fictional character and the real musician Billy to find a home for themselves.”
At the centre of Joy’s thinking behind Feeling Good is jazz musician Billy Tipton, who was active throughout the 1930s. Joy explains: “When I find out about LGBTQ people in history, its always affirming to hear their stories and learn about people who felt absent from my time in education”. But, whilst Joy uses the story of Tipton as inspiration, “the paintings themselves are really about my own experiences, my relationship with gender with a focus on being trans masculine”.
Opening today (24 March) at NOW Gallery in Greenwich, artist Joy Yamusangie’s exhibition Feeling Good pays homage to smoky, hedonistic jazz club culture. Inspired by the legacy of jazz musician Billy Tipton, Joy has constructed an imagined jazz club in NOW Gallery, exploring how jazz offers a space for both belonging and euphoria. Featuring an array of recognisable scenes, from piano playing to lovers entwined in a passionate kiss, all realised in Joy’s trademark style, the series is full of vibrant energy.

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