TOPSY TURVY (Zine)




About this Publication


TOPSY TURVY (2022) is a limited-edition zine that presents the second installment of The Black Doll series, a collection of non-gestural, digital images rooted in the aesthetic tradition of geometric abstraction. Appropriating original imagery of vintage black dolls for sale on Etsy and eBay, I have abstracted the dolls beyond recognition and paired them with their often-racialized item descriptions.

This new series is inspired by the two-headed, reversible, “topsy turvy” cloth dolls invented and handmade by enslaved African-American women for their children. One face of the doll was a White, European-American child, while the other was a Black, African-American child - both were sewn together in the middle with a long skirt. This unique design ensured that during play, the doll could be “flipped” from one side to another.

While the purpose of these dolls is still misunderstood, it is believed that this topsy turvy design enabled enslaved children to play with toys made in their image which could then easily be hidden (by playing with the white doll) around white folks. The Topsy Turvy series presents a wide collection of racialized vintage dolls from the 19th and 20th centuries and continues to explore how whiteness in America is forever linked to its black counterpart, and vice versa.

Order online at Stellazine


IDEOLOGIES (Exhibition Catalog)




About this Publication 


ORDER: The RAY 2021 IDEOLOGIES catalog published by Kehrer Verlag.

What lies behind ideologies? How do differ­ent philosophies of life, political theories and other Values develop? How do they seem to others? And to what extent do they support power, manipulation, abuse, exclusion and exploitation in a wide variety of differ­ent societies?

In this publication, accompanying the fourth international Triennial of photographic arts in Frankfurt/Rhine­Main, artists like Máté Bartha, Johanna Diehl, Yves Sambu, Ja'Tovia Gary, and others use their work to reveal ideologies in the past and present. They demonstrate how ideologies have been expressed over the time and whether there are differences or not. Renowned authors further expand the dis­cussion of this very current topic with their essay contributions.

Artists: Nicole Ahland, Akinbode Akinbiyi, Máté Bartha, Johanna Diehl, Yagazie Emezi, Friedrich Robert Otto Emmel, Sibylle Fendt, Ja'Tovia Gary, Eddo Hartmann, Nini und Carry Hess, Marta Hoepffner, Paula Markert, Eva und Franco Mattes, Qiana Mestrich, Lee Miller, Mohau Modisakeng, Hilde Roth, Yves Sambu, Adrian Sauer, Salvatore Vitale

Authors: Anne-Marie Beckmann, Max Czollek, Ralf Dingeldein, Janine Drewes, Kémi Fátoba, Rainer Forst, Valentine Goldmann, Elke Gruhn, Beate Kemfert, Eckhardt Köhn, Franziska Kunze, Christina Leber, Alexandra Lechner, Dorothee Linnemann, Celina Lunsford, Dietmar Mezler, Susanne Pfeffer, Yasmina Price, Julia Reichelt, Anna Sailer, Wolfgang Ullrich, Matthias Wagner K, Susanne Wartenberg

The Body Issue (Photobook) 




About this Publication


“THE BODY ISSUE” published by Hatje Cantz


A visual dialogue about bodies and how they are perceived in media has been undertaken by the femalephotographers.org collective. As the group’s first publication, The Body Issue addresses the depiction of bodies and the perception of them; at the same time, it also launches a series of photo books.

femalephotographers.org is a new collective that I am a part of that is dedicated to regularly publishing photography books devoted to issues, while also organizing companion exhibitions under its own direction. The goal is to increase the visibility of female photographers, since women are still underrepresented in the art world.

THE PHOTOGRAPHERS
Bex Day, Haley Morris-Cafiero, Katharina Bosse, Maggie Steber, Meklit Fekadu, Jennifer Greenburg, Jocelyn Lee, Lilly Urbat, Kirsten Becken, Claudia Holzinger, Jessica Barthel, Caro Siegl, Oriana Layendecker, Nora Lowinsky, Hanna Mattes, Veronika Faustmann, Katya Abedian, Paula Winkler, Marzena Skubatz, Qiana Mestrich

GUEST ARTISTS
Brandy Eve Allen, Brittney Cathey-Adams, Mary Chen, Tamara Dean, Yushi Li, Dita Pepe, Lotte van Raalte, Laurie Simmons, Chanell Stone

Also available online via The DAP Catalog.



“THE BODY ISSUE” 2021 Calendar 




Available for purchase via Etsy.

Featured Artists:
Bex Day, Haley Morris-Cafiero, Katharina Bosse, Maggie Steber, Meklit Fekadu, Jennifer Greenburg, Jocelyn Lee, Lilly Urbat, Kirsten Becken, Claudia Holzinger, Jessica Barthel, Caro Siegl, Oriana Layendecker, Nora Lowinsky, Hanna Mattes, Veronika Faustmann, Katya Abedian, Paula Winkler, Marzena Skubatz, Qiana Mestrich

Hard To Place (Photobook) 

“The title, Hard to Place, references the difficulty of placing Joseph in adoption because of his mixed heritage, but also the title alludes to the physical ambiguity of the multiracial body. “What are you?” is a frequent question a mixed body hears because the ways our bodies present themselves make us hard to place as well.” 

- Dr. Alexandrina Agloro (Mixed Roots Stories)





About This Project and Publication


Hard To Place is a true story about race, family and the child welfare system in post-war Britain.

Combining confidential, UK government documentation with archival and (auto)biographical photography, this series traces the experience of Joseph, an orphan boy of Nigerian and Irish parentage growing up in 1960s/70s London. As a “half-cast(e)” child, in England, Joseph was considered “hard to place” amongst the mostly white, adoptive families.

Joseph is my husband. The little boy seen in Hard To Place is our son. The images in the book provide a visual alternative to the official, master narrative of child welfare that many mixed-race children are imprisoned by.

Self Published, 2016
Printed by Conveyor Arts
60 pages, 6 x 8.5"
Paperback (Perfect Bound)
Edition of 50 

The Hard to Place photobook is available in the following bookstores/independent shops: 



What you see here is a selection of the images in this series, please contact me to inquire about viewing more.

Additional Reading:


1. Essay by Paula Kupfer.

2. Personal essay and response by Dr. Alexandrina Agloro for the Mixed Roots Stories February 2016 Commons.

3. "Gaining Identity Through the Archive in Qiana Mestrich's Hard To Place" Afterimage essay by Amanda Chesnutt.

Some Kind of War (Artist Book)






About This Artist Book


Some Kind of War (2013) is a rare, handmade artist book of poetry and short stories printed on onion skin paper.
©Qiana Mestrich 2022 and Beyond!