Venus Jasper is a queer visual artist, storyteller, world builder, performative priestess, researcher, educator, writer, and curator, currently based in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

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Queer Shamanism

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Witchcraft and the Gay Counterculture, Arthur Evans, 1978 - a book that inspired my work at the time.

In the period of 2011 - 2013, I was studying at the MFA program of the Piet Zwart Institute. In this period I investigates the notion of "the Artist as a Shaman" and also the intersections of queerness, sexuality and trauma with ideas of healing, shamanism and the cultural work of the visual artist. I worked with AA Bronson, met with Micheal Dudeck, joined a Sigil making workshop with Genesis P-orridge at MoMa PS1 New York and got to know the work of Alejandro Jodorowsky through literature. My research took me from Rotterdam towards New York, but also backpacking across Iceland.

How did it start?

At the time, my visual work centered on Queer Shamanism, the body, healing, and the lack of spiritual figures such as shamans in Western Europe. I was been critical of how the Church has seemed to hijack spirit and "direct revelation", turning our connection with spirit into a medicated and co-opted state-religious business model over time. I analyzed the work of AA Bronson, Genesis P-Oridge, and Alejandro Jodorowsky, which became the base of my graduation thesis, which also looked at my own wounds, and the notion that perhaps artists could be the shamans of the West. It does seem that these ideas often lack a thorough of both the erasure of pre-roman and pre-Christian practices in Europe and also exclude the way shamans and the community are directly and innately interwoven, whereas visual artists nowadays are moreover a professional business, then a spiritual vocation.

The graduation project Laya Papaya Public Bath, and my graduation thesis On the Cosmic Journey of a Body (2013) sprouted two main notions: namely that a lot of shamans are and might have been queer, two-spirited(1), Berdache, or perhaps in modern terms, non-binary. It was often the queer spiritual leaders and queer common folk that were murdered first by colonial invaders. Secondly, I addressed the notion of the Wounded Healer, an idea that suggests that only through the healing of one's own wounds, one can become a guide for others to find and heal theirs.

It was through the exploration of queer shamanism, healing and community, that I came across the Radical Faeries: a loosely affiliated worldwide network and countercultural movement seeking to redefine queer consciousness through secular spirituality. Sometimes deemed a form of modern Paganism, the movement also adopts elements from anarchism and environmentalism. Since 2014 I've been a part of this "community" and have attended many gatherings in sanctuaries.

In ways this foundational research still forms an ongoing perspective of inquiry into who I am, and the forms of art through which i attempt my healing work for the world. In 2023, I began writing a long new textual work in which this journey returns, as it crosses neurodivergence, queerness, thenotion of the Wounded Healer and the development of my work.

Self-portraiture taken at the Fire Island Pines, NY, 2012.

Project results:

  • Some direct results of this research was my graduation thesis On the Cosmic Journey of a Body, the installation and performance Laya Papaya Public Bath at TENT Rotterdam, and Lovejoy's Practice in Oslo. The work SWEAT and my other performances at Roodkapje Rotterdam in 2012 and 2013 are also birthed in this research. I was also one of the participants of the 2013 edition of AA Bronson's ritual performance "Invocation of the Queer Spirit" that took place at Witte de With (MELLY) Rotterdam, together with Mark Jan Krayenhoff van de Leur, Richard Johnson, and Byrne Oisin.
  • In this period, I also performed several times for live works of Melanie Bonajo, and so became part of their video-works Matrix Botanica (2013), and Night Soil - Fake Paradise (2015).
  • My work Laya Papaya Public Bath won the 2013 PZI Promotie Prijs, financed by Fleur Groenendijk Foundation, and awarded by jury members Laura Almarcegui, Sjarel Ex (chairperson), Marnie Slater, Tom van Odijk and Hans Walgenbach.


(1) Two-spirit (also known as two spirit or occasionally twospirited) is a modern, pan-Indianumbrella term used by some Indigenous North Americans to describe Native people in their communities who fulfill a traditional third-gender (or other gender-variant) ceremonial and social role in their cultures. source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two-spirit

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My research into Queer Shamanism was self-initiated and funded.