Text by Zorian Clayton, exhibition curator
‘Found in Translation’ is a virtual exhibition curated by two trans male curators from Manchester in the UK in which half of the 12 participating artists are non-binary. Leading with the themes of gender non-conformity and the development of the non-heteronormative and genderqueer gaze, the show explores the complex territories of queer masculinity today, activism and solidarity, and the search for shared histories beyond the binary.
Originally launched in June 2020 as part of the third Trans Vegas festival, we hope to make the exhibition a physical reality in Manchester 2021, global health crises permitting of course. In the meantime, more Zooms! On the 9th September (7pm BST), we are hosting a free event consisting of an introductory curator’s tour of the show followed by a live 45 minute in conversation with Buzz Slutzky, Izzy Kroese, Ria Brodell & Evan Schwartz. The link to the event can be found here.
Buzz is a multidisciplinary artist and teacher affiliated with the Leslie Lohman Museum of Art in New York. Their film ‘Clothes Feelings’ is a must-see animated short taking a candid and comical look at navigating the world of dress as a non-binary teacher. Also included in the show is their 21-part series illustrating moments in the life of the novelist George Sand (1804-1876) celebrating a history of gender fluidity which re-queers Sand’s story as a counterbalance to the commonplace heteronormative readings of their life.
Ria Brodell is another artist who has taken a historical tack in creating portrait miniatures in the style of Catholic saints cards for their opus entitled ‘Butch Heroes’. Researching global history to discover largely forgotten pioneers assigned female at birth but who’s gender presentation was predominantly masculine, the sitters span the centuries and hail from places as far afield as Sweden, Ecuador and Japan. Published in 2018 by the MIT Press, the series is educational and illuminating, teasing out a shared history with these largely forgotten brave pioneers who came before us.
Izzy Kroese is a recent graduate and part of a four-piece zine and print collective called Shy Bairns. Their contributions to this exhibition are a zine to educate cisgender allies and two digital works: animated research lists of gender variance on the masculine end of the spectrum circa 1412 with Joan of Arc to the present day, and a reimagining of classic male megastars of the 20th century such as James Dean but envisioned with top surgery scars.
Outside of the artist’s panel on the 9th September, further non-binary content can be found throughout the rest of the exhibition, which will remain online until 1st February 2021. Two of the most well-known non-binary artists of today are featured: the performance art powerhouse Cassils, and the filmmaker and illustrator, Fox Fisher. Fox, along with their partner, Owl (Ugla Stefania), have been two of the leading voices working for non-binary rights and visibility in the UK and Iceland.
The exhibition also includes another exciting new talent, Sadé Mica, who has been gathering accolades since graduating two years ago with a degree in visual arts. Exhibiting widely in Europe with revealingly personal textile and photographic work, placing their ‘ever in flux gender presentation’ as a queer person of colour centre stage. They are also part of the BBZ collective (Bold Brazen Zamis), which is taking creative club nights to the next level for queer womxn, trans and non-binary people of colour in London.