Affinities is my response to Outlook Issue No 10 Fall 1990 in which I explore my affinities to Marlon Riggs & Cherrie Moraga. These affinities are explored through a language of the body, excavating moments of connections. Sound scapes, film and text evoke memory fragments that shaped an artist within movements of affirmations.


affinities (sketches) by Pratibha Parmar

North London
April 4th 1994

The image was too strong
The light of freedom too powerful
……to be diminished

There was Marlon
smiling smiling smiling
Not a care in the world
Flying in the sky with a red balloon

Next morning a fax arrived
Marlon had passed away the night before.

Marlon had come to say goodbye
Rejoicing in his freedom
Freedom from the agony of his long endured illness
AIDS, a cruel murderer

Was the dream my need to say goodbye to brother Marlon
I like to think not.

It was the late 1980’s.
It was the early 1990’s.
The time when Marlon & I
Queer, Artists were
creating works of self affirmation
inscribing ourselves into narrative and histories that did not even notice our absences

we were on a parallel journey
with our words and images
We fought against our erasures
And our voices challenged the racism of those we had nothing in common with except our sexuality

We were not prone to SILENCE
“Silence kills the soul; it diminishes its possibilities to rise and fly and explore. Silence withers what makes you human. The soul shrinks, until it’s nothing.” Marlon Riggs

Marlon’s Soul Rose and Flew with the red balloon

  • Pratibha Parmar is a filmmaker, artist and professor. Pratibha has been making award-winning films for over 20 years and brings a passionate commitment to illuminating untold stories with integrity. Author and editor of several books, Pratibha was awarded The Visionary Award for her body of work from the One in Ten Film Festival and is a winner of the Frameline Film Festival Life Time Achievement Award. In 2013 Pratibha was Visiting Artist at Stanford University in the Theatre & Performance Studies Department and is currently an Associate Professor in the Film department at California College of the Arts, San Francisco. Pratibha is a voting member of AMPAS and BAFTA.

    Most recently Pratibha was honored with the ICON Award for her contribution to world cinema at the London Indian Film Festival.

    Currently her short film Sari Red is part of the exhibition, The Place Is Here at the South London Gallery.

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    Homepage Image Credit
    Queer Nation kiss-in at the cable car turnaround.
    © Rick Gerharter
    San Francisco, 1991.