I’m looking at the most basic of human stories about genesis, where we originate, where we go, all these stories we’ve inherited about being and belonging, and who gets to exist and why.

In her vibrant paintings, Amaryllis DeJesus Moleski offers utopian, futuristic worlds populated with emphatically Black and Brown femme characters. Here one such figure stands between two versions of herself: a skeleton in front, and a gray-toned echo behind. In each of their foreheads, a third eye looks up, while tiny ghosts hover at their feet.

The image’s dense symbolism might be interpreted through multiple lines of thought, from psychology, to spirituality, to fantasy. The latter is particularly important to Moleski. Throughout a nomadic childhood, she found a constant sense of home in libraries and the fantasy novels she read there. She notes that such stories speak to the human condition: “Just because something is a fantasy, doesn’t mean it’s not real and doesn’t have teeth in this world.” In her own images, the figures may inhabit some fantastic realm, but their existence is anchored in the artist’s own lived experiences as a queer Puerto Rican woman here today.