Art exhibition honors slain transgender victims

Flags from Project 42, photo from tumblr.com
  • Artist Jono Vaughan will start Project 42, an exhibition that remembers transgender individuals that were killed due to violence, at the Seattle Art Museum from April 21 through August 5.
  • Each masterpiece will be a customized piece of garment representing a life of a trans victim killed in the United States.
  • Screenshots from Google Earth on the locations of the killing would be printed on the fabric, which would then be worn by an artist who would dance or perform in order to honor and humanize the lives that were lost.

An artist and college instructor in Seattle, Washington is slated to hold an art exhibition that studies the intersections of gender identity, art, social identity, and activism.

Artist Jono Vaughan will start Project 42, an exhibition that remembers transgender individuals that were killed due to violence, at the Seattle Art Museum from April 21 through August 5.

Art and transgender identity

Additionally, according to transgender news stories in Bellevue Reporter and posted on March 9, the aim of Vaughan’s work is to spread awareness on the short life span of transgender people.

The exhibition would feature a mix of different media.

Each masterpiece will be a customized piece of garment representing a life of a trans victim killed in the United States. Screenshots from Google Earth on the locations of the killing would be printed on the fabric, which would then be worn by an artist who would dance or perform in order to honor and humanize the lives that were lost.

Vaughan, an instructor at the Bellevue College, said in an interview that transgender murder victims go through stages of dehumanization.

“When a trans individual is murdered, they’re first dehumanized by the act of violence, and then further dehumanized by media that tends to emphasize their transness, rather than their unique personhood,” Vaughan said.

Vaughan added that the goal of his latest work was to restore their humanity, saying, “The project acts to redirect attention to their humanity, and also raise awareness of the violence, or threat of violence, transgender individuals face.”

Going beyond the headlines

The exhibition would also challenge the audience’ comfort levels and be forced to confront their inherent biases.

“It’s been a learning process for me too,” Vaughan said. “I began this through personal research into the trans community in the early stages of my transition.”

Explaining Project 42, Vaughan stated, “I wanted to know what types of barriers other trans individuals faced, what kinds of misunderstandings are out there, how I could reach people and get them past this abstract, surface-level view to something deeper. The colors are attractive and accessible. What the patterns represent, and the performance, offer an emotional impact.”

Receiving funding from The Pollination Project, National Performance Network and Visual Artist Network (Art Burst Grant), and Art Matters Foundation Org, Project 42 started in 2012. The performances were held in Florida, Minnesota, and Seattle.

It has also received multiple awards including the 2017 Betty Bowen Award. Instead of giving a speech during the award ceremony, she chose to remember the memory of Fred Martinez Jr., a transgender teen of Navajo descent, who was killed in 2001 with performances of Native American rituals. The memorial garment for Martinez was also embroidered a poem written by Bellevue College English professor Natalie Ann Martinez.

“We’ve become de-sensitized to violence, and violence against the trans community in particular,” she said. “Project 42 is an opportunity to share space with that life that was lost, engage with each other, and elevate the discussion. I feel really humbled to be a part of it.”

Via

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Trans advocate, beauty queen, model, runner. Marketing director of myladyboydate.com and mytranssexualdate.com.

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