Yana Sternberger Moye, Healing Lovers: Subspace 1, 2019-2020. Acrylic and oil on canvas, 48” x 60”.
Yana Sternberger Moye, Healing Lovers: Subspace 2, 2020. Acrylic and oil on canvas, 48” x 60”.
Yana Sternberger Moye, Healing Lovers: Subspace 3, 2020. Acrylic and oil on canvas, 48” x 60”.
Yana Sternberger Moye, Healing Lovers: Subspace 4, 2020, Acrylic and oil on canvas, 48” x 60”.
Yana Sternberger-Moye exhibition layout.

Yana Sternberger-Moye

Throughout my work, I explore the body and its complex and often disconnected relationship to space. What does it mean to inhabit a body that dictates how I move through the world? How I am perceived? What are the consequences of taking up space? Through painting, photography, performance, video, and installation, I explore disparate aspects of my identity and begin to answer these questions. By utilizing a wide spectrum of media, I am able to build new worlds that inherently make space for me. These various formal techniques allow me to lace together the segmented worlds I navigate on a daily basis. Through these methods I generate and investigate questions of internal disconnect, mental illness, and longing.

I am interested in how black and brown bodies move in and outside of eurocentric spaces, as well as the way colorism functions within communities of color. I reflect on my feelings around being of both African and German descent, navigating what it means to be a result of two very different cultures. With this in mind, there is a conscious consideration of space as it relates to placelessness and concepts of home and origin.

What does placelessness do to the minds of black and brown people? How does it impact our notions of safety and ability to process trauma? Through investigations into the conscious and the subconscious mind, I express how personal and intergenerational trauma has manifested itself inside both the physical and spiritual body. I consider how trauma influences the body's ability to navigate distinct spaces. I am interested in the ways in which people heal from trauma and ways of reclaiming power lost to traumatic experiences.

My work depicts the beauty and resiliencency of queer people of color. By doing so I dissolve social stigmas around trauma and placelessness and create a safe space for people who feel unseen or unheard. Ultimately, I do this work to create a platform, meant for conversations, questions, mourning, healing, and in celebration of self and identity. In my most recent work, I am creating large scale vibrant paintings that explore the nature of my BDSM (bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, and sadism & masochism) experiences and how I have been able to use them for rehabilitation. This series of paintings titled Healing Lovers depicts both the physical and psychological sensations, emotions, and landscapes that come along with engaging in BDSM with my trusted partner. This can be seen through the energetic way the backgrounds are transformed and the way the figures blend and warp throughout the background. Rendered with a large spectrum of bright colors, these works transform a tangible environment into a space that consists rather of sensory stimulus. Healing Lovers shows the beauty and affection that occurs between people who are completely honest and vulnerable with each other. In this work, BDSM becomes the container for healing, self-discovery, play, catharsis, establishment of boundaries, pleasure, tenderness, honesty, safety, and the practice of care and radical self-love and affirmation.