To celebrate Anti Racism Month, Pradeep Mahadeshwar talks with queer artists of colour living in Ireland. In this interview, he speaks with Caio Fabro (he/him), a Brazilian-Italian artist living in Ireland.
Caio Fabro is a freelance graphic designer and illustrator with a passion for multimedia. Since arriving in Ireland eight years ago, he has been a consistent contributor to Dublin’s queer culture.
Caio and I share a passion for queer erotic art. Talking about sex and expressing experiences of intimacy can still be taboo. In my experience, if you are an immigrant gay and talk about sex publicly, it can be considered low brow. On that backdrop, Caio’s illustration art is a breath of fresh air.
He says, “I am passionate about erotic art. Most of my work is my curious interpretation of this universe navigating amidst fetishism, sexual desires, and other important aspects of the gay culture. My work consists of symbolism and abstract representation of the world around me.”
For most immigrants, a sense of inclusion and integration is difficult; society takes a long time noticing. It is a long emotional process to feel a sense of belonging. For QPOC artists, it becomes harder to get mainstream visibility for their stories. Their role as an active contributor to culture can get ignored or, in some cases, denied. I asked Caio about his take on the Irish artistic community, and if the lack of recognition affects his creative process?
“I wouldn’t say accepted or rejected, though I don’t feel included in the Irish artist community. Some people appreciate my work, but overall you get overlooked as an outsider artist. It doesn’t affect my creative process, but on many occasions, I question myself – ‘is there any space for my authentic artistic expression and value of my cultural contribution to society?’ Of course, as an artist, exposure is essential; there must be an inclusive platform to tell your story, and your work needs to be seen by a larger section of society.
“Immigrant artists are continually contributing to culture by producing a great body of work; unfortunately, their work mainly goes unnoticed. There is very little, or no recognition for the rich, diverse look at life immigrants bring along with them.”
Almost two years ago, Caio collaborated with Stevie Faherty and David Healy to co-found the queer techno party, Grace. Grace has emerged as one of Dublin’s most inclusive queer spaces in recent times. Caio summarises, “Grace is a queer techno party that aims to provide a safe space for LGBT+ communities. We closely work with LGBT+, female and marginalised artists as much as possible. Through Grace, we try to create a space where all minorities can freely express themselves.
“We have zero-tolerance for homophobia, transphobia, femmephobia, racism or bigotry. Our staff is all from within the community, so they know sensitive issues like racism and transphobia. As a queer immigrant artist being able to be part of a space like Grace brings a true sense of belonging.” With COVID-19 ongoing, the future for LGBTQ+ nightlife in Ireland has many challenges, but Grace will find new ways to connect with the community.
Caio’s advice to other emerging immigrant artists is – “Never stop creating. The struggle is real and inevitable, but be true to your art, keep making connections, be involved in the community and exchange experiences through your work.”
To learn more about Caio Fabro, visit his Instagram here.
For more of Pradeep Mahadeshwar’s work, follow him on Instagram.
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