Box of (Trans)gression
Acrylic, course molding and fibre paste on wooden box
Ever since I had heard the news about what’s going on in the US and Ontario, I couldn’t get it out of my head. I don’t understand why it’s so important to be focusing on erasing people’s identities rather than other actually serious issues that are happening in the world. Why is it so wrong for people to be who they are? I decided on making a response through artwork in hopes that it would get it out of my head and also create conversations and evoke thoughts for viewers.
The outside of the box features an abstract version of the transgender pride flag. On the inside there are two portraits based off of trans women who were murdered in 2018 (Nikki Janelle Enriquez and Shantee Tucker). Their eyes and mouth are covered by news articles to symbolize the taking away of their identities and voices. I worked with the surface of a box to symbolize the positivity and pride that people might see from trans-identifying people on “the outside” and the harsh reality of their lives (being killed, having political stances taken against them, discrimination, etc.) that people might not see or choose not to see on “the inside." My title for this piece asks why it is so wrong to be who you are. Apparently to the political groups fighting against them, finding your true identity and being able to present that to the world is a horrible, wrong thing to do.
In creating and showing this piece, I would like to stress that I am on the outside of this community and in writing my perspective on this situation, and making art regarding these situations, I am in no way trying to speak for the community and their feelings or opinions towards it. Although it is interesting being an outsider looking in, we must also respect, hear, and see the community and their side of the story. If there was ignorance in my observations or explanation, I apologize and encourage you to contact me and let me know how I can change this.
I do hope that this piece fulfills what my initial intentions were - provoking thoughts and inspiring respectful and important conversations.
This piece was shown in a student-curated exhibition in May 2019.