Zharia O’Neal

British Virgin Islands
Artist in Residence, 2023

Portrait of Zharia O'Neal

Artist Statement

My work, self-baptized B/black comedy, tends to explore chosen/unchosen families, the queerness of liminal space and memory, and cult sh*t through the lens of the Afro/Afro-Caribbean experience. I like walking across artistic thresholds: genre, medium, etc. I piece a lot of my larger works together like patchwork quilts, integrating the patches as they come to me. In most of my work, structure leads the storytelling and there’s always poetry somewhere.

While at Headlands

I’ll be working on a theatrical project that explores the unraveling of the self on both sides of the mother-child relationship, the feeling and experience of being in a narcissistic parent/scapegoat/golden child dynamic, and the crossing of thresholds. My creative process is always initially led by research, but this project involves me excavating my own traumas in a way I haven’t yet done. And so, I’ll need to move, rock, rest, push off things, and take space and time. Community feeds my artistic practice, more than anything else, so I’m beyond excited to be at Headlands. 

Selected Work

Zharia O’Neal, excerpts from the blood of a hibiscus and roost; performed for Writers Revealed, 2022; 02:37–06:04.


Zharia O’Neal, performance at Village Nights, 2020. Video: Deante Gray.