Looking backwards from March ’21 to March ’20: a photo for each month – art, activism, mask-wearing, and a a first year of marriage during a pandemic. How incredible this exercise, letting each photo and the words of reflection document the journey of a year that included so many unimaginable cycles of challenges, growth, lessons in survival. As a Queer person in midlife, the year also brought up many many old generational histories of surviving the loses of NYC in the late 80’s/early 90’s and my activist roots that stretch deeply from those days

March 2021 – artist journal Queer figurative study, Loving Remembrance, Noir

March, 2021 – artist journal page by MIchael Sylvan Robinson
Feb. 2021 – Polaroid photo and Instagram story by Guinevere Van Seenus

Feb. 2021 – polaroid and Instagram story shared by Guinevere Van Seenus of wearing my “Priestessing the Work of Healing” (2021) sculptural garment for upcoming Vogue Germany feature (April, 2021). Guinevere Van Seenus photographed the stunning Saskia de Brauw wearing an incredibly personal, empowering wearable art gown of mine.

January, 2021 – Detail photo by Paul Takeuchi of “A Love Spell in the Midst of a Pandemic” by Michael Sylvan Robinson

Jan. 2021 – Detail photo of “A Love Spell in the Midst of a Pandemic” (2020) this piece and seven of my sculptural garments headed out to the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber Arts for the “Remnants” exhibition (till April 25th). It has been such an incredible opportunity, to be included in my first museum exhibition with artists I’ve long admired, as well as working with the wonderful exhibition curator, Emily Schlemowitz.

December, 2020 – artist journal page by Michael Sylvan Robinson

Dec. 2020 – artist journal inspired by Jimmy Somerville in Orlando, and documenting a month of daily “little dances” and drawing practice as part of healing (including recovering from a frozen shoulder) that also was a listening to my own understanding of my genderqueer identity 

November, 2020 – Sylvan at Transgender Day of Remembrance action and vigil with Gays Against Guns. Photo by Paul Rowley

Nov. 2020 – Transgender Day of Remembrance with Gays Against Guns wearing my memorial garment, “In Remembrance: We Honor the Lives of Those Lost in 2020 to Gun Violence,“ while marshalling an action with silent vigil where each of the transgender people killed in the US by guns in 2020 were remembered by a veiled activist holding a placard with the photo and story of the person killed. One of my contributions to GAG is the researching and archiving of the stories of those we honor and remember. This wearable art piece is currently exhibited at the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber Arts.

October, 2020 – Mask-wearing with early voting sticker selfie

Oct. 2020 – early voting in the new neighborhood. Mask-wearing, high-pressure cycle leading up to the election, and then the chaos and trauma of the months until inauguration wrecked havoc on us all

September, 2020 – mask-wearing selfie as the school year resumed with a return to campuses

Sept. 2020 – “learn” after months of remote learning, there was a return-to-school, the start of a cycle of returns which included mostly outdoors teaching in tents, remote and staggered in-person experiences, and finally in March 2021 an almost full return to indoors classes for almost all students and faculty. There has never been a teaching year like the one we just weathered.

August, 2020 – photo of new home with paintings by Greg Minah over the fireplace

August 2020 – we bought a home, and I moved for the third summer in three years (Baltimore to Bushwick, Bushwick to South Slope, South Slope to Bay Ridge). After months of living in a small one bedroom apartment, with me on long zoom work days without any time away from work, there was suddenly space and a major life goal achieved together

July, 2020 – Announcement for PRIDE at the Textile Center of Minnesota

July 2020 – After pandemic delays, the first of the postponed art exhibitions opens, and my Pride at the Textile Center of Minnesota, curated by Tracy Krumm. Excited to be sharing my work in a Queer fiber arts show!

June, 2020 – Sylvan carrying sign in remembrance of Black transgender people killed by gun violence at Break the Chains with Love March from Vogue Magazine article by Emma Specter with stunning photographs by Ian Reid

June 2020 – at the Break the Chains with Love March 6/19/21 (with Don Shewey) in a month that included multiple marches across the Brooklyn Bridge, and participating in the historic Brooklyn Liberation for Black Trans Lives March which started outside the Brooklyn Museum with 15,000 people

May, 2020 – Sylvan’s first covid testing outdoor site (after a tough winter of health concerns)

May 2020 – first covid testing, outdoor site after a tough winter of health concerns

April, 2020 – selfie with mask and dogwoods on early pandemic shelter-in-place with neighborhood daily walking practice only

April 2020 – the early days of isolation, covid fears and empty city, walks to Green-Wood Cemetery 

March 2020 – just days after the city started to shut down, we headed off (unmasked) to City Hall to get married, and our dear friend, Daniel joined us as witness. Afterwards we found an open restaurant for lunch, and I’ve not returned to an indoor restaurant dining situation since. We postponed our honeymoon to Ireland that was supposed to start the next day (then postponed it again, then finally canceled). Our first year of marriage has certainly had its challenges, but our love and home together are such a blessing!

May there be many many more anniversaries together, dear beloved, and hopefully we’ll get to that honeymoon trip and a special family and loved ones ceremony in the near future.