Thea Quiray Tagle, PhD is a Filipinx femme curator, writer, and scholar whose research broadly investigates photography, 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 and across the Pacific. 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?  

Dr. Quiray Tagle is a transdisciplinary scholar of visual studies, feminist & queer studies, and critical ethnic studies. She earned her PhD in Ethnic Studies from the University of California, San Diego, and holds a BA 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. Thea has previously held full-time faculty appointments in American and Ethnic Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Interdisciplinary Arts programs at the University of Massachusetts Boston and the University of Washington Bothell. Her research has been published in academic journals including American Quarterly, Critical Ethnic Studies, ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies, Ethnic Studies Review, and Verge: Studies in Global Asias.

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, photography, socially engaged art, film and new media. She is co-curator of New York Now: Home, the inaugural contemporary photography triennial at the Museum of the City of New York. Thea has curated visual art exhibitions and performances, and organized public programs for venues including  Vachon Gallery at Seattle University, SFAC Galleries, Berkeley Art Center, the Asian Art Museum (San Francisco), and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. 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 appear in publications including Hyperallergic, ASAP/J and BOMB Magazine, and she has written catalog and exhibition texts for artists including alejandro t. acierto, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Romson Regarde Bustillo, Dewey Crumpler, dan paz, and Stephanie Syjuco.

From November 9, 2020-February 7, 2021, the second iteration of Thea’s long-term curatorial project, AFTER LIFE, was viewable in person, outdoors and socially distant, at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA). This visual art, social practice, 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. The online exhibition- with 3D virtual walkthrough and online-exclusive video conversations, artworks, and full  documentation- remains available in perpetuity.

Thea is the Associate Curator of the David Winton Bell Gallery and the Brown Arts Institute (BAI) at Brown University.

photo credit: dan paz