Thea Quiray Tagle, PhD is a writer, scholar, teacher and curator whose research broadly investigates socially engaged art and site-specific performance; visual cultures of violence and waste; urban planning and the environment; and grassroots responses to political crises and ecological collapse in the expanded Pacific Rim. Across her various research and creative projects, a question that drives Thea’s work is: how can socially engaged art and performance move us, collectively and individually, to work towards more just and livable futures that are anti-capitalist, feminist, and queer? How can art and performance model practices of right relation with other humans and non-human life, that might impact how we choose to live in the day-to-day?
Thea is a transdisciplinary feminist scholar and is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and the Program in Critical Ethnic & Community Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She received her PhD in Ethnic Studies from the University of California, San Diego, and she holds a bachelors degree in Political Science and Human Rights Studies from Barnard College, Columbia University. She was the Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Associate in Asian American Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign from 2015-2016, and was a faculty member at the University of Washington Bothell from 2016-2020. Her research has been published or is forthcoming in academic journals including American Quarterly, Critical Ethnic Studies, ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies, and Asian Diasporic Visual Cultures and the Americas.
As a practitioner, Thea specializes in curating and writing about contemporary art and performance projects by Black, Indigenous, people of color, queer, and diasporic artists working in installation, socially engaged art, film and new media. Thea has curated visual art exhibitions and performances for Seattle University’s Vachon Gallery, The Alice (Seattle), and Feast Arts Center (Tacoma, WA), and has organized public programs for venues including the Asian Art Museum (San Francisco), Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and Centro Cultural de la Raza (San Diego). She was a member of the Seattle-based curatorial collective at The Alice from 2018 through its closing in May 2019. Her arts criticism and essays have been published online in Hyperallergic, Art Practical, ASAP/J and at The Center for Art + Thought, and she has written catalog and exhibition texts for artists including alejandro t. acierto, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Romson Regarde Bustillo, Dewey Crumpler, Arshia Fatima Haq, and Minoosh Zomorodinia.
In November 2020, the second iteration of Thea’s long-term curatorial project, AFTER LIFE, opens at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts for socially distant viewing with an online exhibition portal. This interactive art and new media exhibition features 17 artists whose work helps us creatively imagine survival strategies for climate collapse, policing/surveillance, displacement, and other forms of slow violence.
photo credit: Erina C. Alejo