Featured Artist Interview: Darling Au'Saun Aya Squire
Darling Squire is an impeccable Chicago-based performance artist and healer who holds the power to enrapture an audience her presence alone. This incredibly elegant transgender woman of color tells us about how she has made a career of captivating and healing masses of onlookers with her gift of embodied truth, magic and movement.
CC: Aesthetically you seem to draw upon many historical eras to inform your fashion sense. What about women from these eras inspires you to emulate that specific flavor of femininity? What about how these women were represented is something that you want to represent?
DS: It was instilled in me growing up to know your history. The amazing women of days passed did so much and there is a lot we never hear about. I do what I can through my craft to pay homage to them in little ways. It's all about the attention to detail for my artistic explorations. The little things go a long way.
CC: What do you feel your role is as a woman in your community?
DS: To speak the truth and more importantly my truth, I am well aware of what the masses see in me. However for them to get past that I must stay true to myself and educate through patience.
CC: How do you feel your career in dance and performance helps you embody this role?
DS: That is tough to answer. I dance because it's the driving force that holds my life together. If you happen to see me do it and you like it or hate it, well that's none of my concern. I honestly am up there for me. There is an aspect of vanity in it; I'm an artist of course. However, I am here to evoke something from you and get you to feel things you've never felt. I'm aware that I move people to feel things but I don't get caught up in it. I know it's my path to be a teacher. There gets to be a point in a teacher's career where they have to get you from point 'A' to point 'B' by any means.
CC: Tell us about your journey in your career as a dancer and a healer.
DS: Well this has been a very interesting journey because I was not looking for it, it found me. I think that it's a matter of knowing your higher calling and I know that there are spiritual entities surrounding me that are guiding me on my path. My career falls in line with my being a 5th generation healer. Initially I would heal through my art without even knowing. From the first time I took the stage I've captivated audiences, which sounds conceited but that's not my intention. To me, this is a perfect example of how one's higher calling will have your talents shine through in ways you never thought were possible. At times I still don't understand how my dancing has helped so many people, but then I think about how much it's helped me, then I ask myself, "Well if it worked for you why can't it work for them?" There is a pure energy that is shared between myself and the audience. That's what people are healed by. When performing, I am acting as my higher self, which means I'm sending out a higher vibrational frequency. What this means is that I am sharing my energy; at this point it is a healing force because it allows others to elevate to their higher self.
CC: Tell us about your journey and experience as a transgender woman in America. Real Talk.
DS: This has been a very long, long journey. I was definitely in denial for years. That in itself affected my exploration in life because I did not know how to navigate life in that body. Due to being so misinformed about what that experience is, it was scary to me to even consider being transgender as an option. Once I finally did come to terms with it, it opened up so many emotional doors. What I'm dealing with now is letting go of stuff that I have been internalizing for the past few years and allowing myself to be my my true self. The biggest thing that I have learned is that I must speak my truth. As I speak my truth, it helps people get past the exterior to see the person within. People then loose sight of these mundane things that cripple our society from being more loving of the diversity of life.
CC: Within the queer community and our immediate community in general, you are widely known as a healer and practical magic practitioner. As a fellow practitioner of the occult arts I'd love to know how this informs different parts of your life, and how your community has reacted to and accepted this part of you. This is important because historically this kind of lifestyle needed to be concealed among women.
DS: Well, as I mentioned earlier I'm a 5th generation healer and my great, great grandmother, Grandma Ida, was a high priestess. She was high society in Pennsylvania. She was well known within the community for her ability to heal, so I'm not surprised that I am walking that same path, seeing that it is in my bloodline.
CC: What advice do you have for upcoming transgender youth and teens?
DS: Speak your truth and don't let anyone tell you that you are wrong for being who you are. Follow your path.
CC: Do you have any upcoming events you'd like to share with us?
Poonies Cabaret is coming up in April at Links Hall, Chicago. There I'll be showing experts from my new piece "White Man Sleeps."
Follow Darling on social media on IG and Twitter at @DarlingShear.