Artists included on this page: Bakare Olamide Ramota, Erwina Ziomkowska, Conor Collins, Christopher Sellers, and Ally Zlatar.
Propósito by Bakare Olamide Ramota (Nigeria)
Some people use their dress, behavior, and mannerisms to live as the gender that feels right for them. Transgender people come from all walks of life. As a transgender person, knowing your purpose means you know your direction in life. Once you realize the power of focus, meaning, passion, clarity, fulfillment, honour, trust, choice, grace, ease, impact, confidence, and fun in life, you'll get to realize that there's a lot of power in living for something bigger. You're the one in charge.
Bakare Olamide Ramota: Drawings are not just papers or idols, but humans to Olamide. Her involvement in art started in 2015. Firstly, as self development before she underwent a formal apprenticeship of the famous contemporary artist in Lagos, Nigeria—Mr. Awesu Gafar. Influencd by many stories in the society, she also portrays reality and emotions using certain philosophical theories that occur in everyday life activities. She also draws inspiration from her immediate environment, music, and certain scenes that hold sway in her surroundings. Through the analysis of her works, she relentlessly attempts to unlock mysteries in her descriptions, especially about life-changing concepts and real-life situations in Nigeria. Olamide's concepts also denote a contemporary interpretation of various social contexts in Africa. Capturing topical and as well undermentioned happenings and situations in Africa is her plateau of concern. She loves to express and further establish a clear realism of different situations in a distinctive light. Her works also create new patterns of stories about the challenging society, the challenged society, the challenged in the society, and contemporary issues; creating the art and attaching a solution (utilitarian artistry). At a point, no one really understood her perspective about certain ideas, unbothered, she furthered her ingenious cause: using art as a simple representation of creating those situations. Her desire is to address an old Africa in other to create a refined, revamped, rebirthed Africa in the heart of the audience. She was born in Badagry, the ancient city in Lagos, Nigeria.
Wardrobe series (shoes 2021) by Erwina Ziomkowska (Poland)
The work alludes to an ambiguous perception of gender. What seems obvious is not so. The work has an ambivalent meaning, it asks questions about gender boundaries, stereotypes, and its reception. In this project pins have transformed the matter into an externally attractive surface, making the impression of luxurious shoes. One only has to come closer to see that this belief is only the illusion of his encoded ways. Having a closer look, it is easy to notice that the internal part of the material is covered with spines.
My name is Erwina Ziomkowska. I was born in the small city Wloclawek. I live and work in Poznan (Poland). In 2008 I graduated Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice. Major exhibitions I had in Poland in Zderzak Gallery (in Krakow), but my works have appeared at exhibitions all over the world. I mainly create artistic objects and temporary installations. I am interested in finding new meanings and transforming objects so that they give a new way of interpretation.
This portrait of Marsha P. Johnson was inspired by the BLM movement. I as a queer person owe so much to this wonderful, brave, black, trans woman. Black Lives Matter. Black Trans Lives Matter.
[Update 4/2/22: For more information and to view a larger version of this piece, contact the artist.]
Conor Collins: I’m known internationally for my one of kind viral artworks reflecting society back at itself as a way in a hope to a better future. Tom Daley (2014) went viral featuring on TIME.com, The Independent, and the Ellen show. Caitlyn (2015) seen by over a million people in 24 hours. In 7 days it was seen by more people than visit the MOMA in 3 years. Trump (2016) featured on the cover of US Newspapers and across Europe, and was shortlisted for a number of art prizes. When my art goes viral those who share it become my gallery. I was not educated in art, and I have had to work day and night to get my artwork seen. Occasionally people see viral artwork as an overnight success, but it came from years of work. I have worked multiple jobs just to afford the right brushes for paint, including cleaning toilets in the early hours of the morning in clubs and bars in Manchester. At no point did I feel bad for myself though, as I knew at the end of the shift I could go home to my canvas, and work on something that mattered. I am driven in a way that nothing will stop me making a piece that matters. I want to work to have an impact further than creating an art pieces for art’s sake. I want to create work that is more than a piece of furniture on a wall. I want to create art that is a catalyst for change. That is what drives me. That is what gets me up in the morning, and keeps me up at night. I want my art to be a mirror upon society, and a hammer with which to shape it.
Kale, 2019, is a figure study and still life drawing representing a strong voice of the trans and queer community. The figure, Kale, describes his experience as growing up in the south being difficult, where the queer community has not always been embraced as strongly compared to other parts of the United States. His interests and passions for arts consists of living as an artwork, being a voice and raising awareness for the southern queer and trans community.
Chris Sellers is a multidisciplinary artist working from Tampa, FL, with artistic disciplines ranging from 2-D, 3-D, and digital media. In his work, Chris focuses on the figure and elements related to the figure, deriving of styles and techniques from traditional practices and applying it through contemporary means. Many of his current themes are associated with indulgence and transient lifestyles.
Blunt the knives, cut the ties, & the body remembers by Ally Zlatar (Scotland)
Content warning: please note - some of the images in this series of paintings depict self-harm and might be triggering for some people.
Many transgender individuals experience incongruity between their biological sex and their gender identity. This can result in great distress and affect their perception of their body image. Blunt the knives is a series of paintings that tears apart the femaleness of my body in an attempt to desexualize myself. This work reveals how in seeking control over the physical body, this can result in increasing mental and physical drain. The internal struggle associated with forming a physical weight, body, and shape that is congruent with finding a Queer Identity is vital to comprehend when discussing the LGBT+ experience with mental illness. The desire for the perfect body that can communicate their sexuality and self to the world is a difficult endeavor. Not only do Queer individuals need to reflect on what otherness means to them, but also figure out how it can manifest physically in a way that can make them content. Since it is no easy task, it can be detrimental to countless people, and such as myself in these works lead to many illnesses such as body dysmorphia, depression, and eating disorders. The body is a mechanism for the trans experience. Some people may feel trapped, suffocated, or even disconnected from their bodies because of their biological sex.
Ally Zlatar holds a BFA in Visual Art & Art History from Queen's University & an MLitt Curatorial Practice and Contemporary Art from the Glasgow School of Art. Her Doctorate of Creative Arts is with the University of Southern Queensland focusing on embodied experiences of eating disorders in contemporary art. Zlatar is a Lecturer at the University of Glasgow (Anderson College, GIC), KICL London, and University of Essex (UEIC). She has been involved in many exhibition creations and personal works shown globally. In her artistic practice, she is continuously interpreting, communicating and facilitating her work to make a difference in society.