Dayna Danger’s work asks that Indigenous communities consider how our own sexualities and genders factor into our future imaginaries—what Qwo-Li Driskill has called a sovereign erotic. Danger presents a series of photographs featuring Indigenous models wearing black leather BDSM fetish masks adorned with rows upon rows of black matte and glossy beads. One mask prominently featured a labrys, a symbol associated with lesbian feminism or radical feminism. Danger produced the masks with the help of Indigenous relations from among her community. Hours of painstaking care and love were put into the masks, just as would be put into any beading project. The image of beading entire masks of leather evokes the literal blood, sweat, and tears integrated into the work itself.
Indigenous peoples’ sexualities are frequently equated to histories of sexual violence, commodified and institutionalized by settlers seeking to dominate, discipline, and control Indigenous bodies. Danger’s use of the leather BDSM mask references the kink community as a space to explore complicated dynamics of sexuality, gender, and power in a consensual and feminist manner. Danger engages with her own medicine, beading, in order to mark kink as a space for healing colonial trauma. There is no shame in this action. Here the models’ gender expressions and sensual lives are integral to their resurgent identities as Indigenous peoples.