Celebration of life announced for renowned queer Latinx photographer Laura Aguilar

A celebration of life for Laura Aguilar will take place May 19 in Lincoln Park at the Plaza de La Raza. Photo: Laura Aguilar, “Nature Self-Portrait #14,” 1996, Gelatin silver print, 16 x 20 inches. Courtesy of the artist and the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center. © Laura Aguilar

LINCOLN PARK — A celebration of life has been announced for renowned queer Latinx photographer Laura Aguilar, who died last month at a hospice care facility in Long Beach from complications related to diabetes. She was 58.

It will take place May 19 at Plaza de La Raza from 2 to 4 p.m. Aguilar loved poetry, and guests are encouraged to bring a poem to share, said Christopher Anthony Velasco, her agent and one of the trustees of her estate.

Aguilar’s was pioneering for its intersections across her identities: queer, brown, feminist, and Latinx. For example, she created some images in 1992 that captured the working class, lesbian residents of East Los Angeles who found sanctuary at the iconic dyke bar the Plush Pony.

Laura Aguilar was a trailblazing photographer, whose 1992 images captured the working class, lesbian residents of East Los Angeles who found sanctuary at the iconic dyke bar the Plush Pony. Photo: Laura Aguilar, “Plush Pony #2,” 1992. Gelatin silver print.
Courtesy of the artist and the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center.

Those photographs were included in a career retrospective, “Laura Aguilar: Show and Tell,” at the Vincent Price Art Museum in Monterey Park, and her photography appeared last year in the two-part exhibition “Axis Mundo: Queer Networks in Chicano L.A.” The shows, part of the Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA series of exhibitions, helped bring her art to a new audience.

After Aguilar’s death, performance artist Monica Palacios shared her thoughts on Facebook.

“The beautiful, dynamic queer Chicana photographer Laura Aguilar has died,” Palacios said. “She was a trailblazer. She was a badass. Laura documented so much of our queer Latinx LA lives during the 90s. Rest in power magnificent Laura.”

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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