beloved home, 2021. gouache on paper. 14" x 8".
Commissioned by SheFunds for International Women's Month 2021.
One of the four pillars of the Transgender Law Center's Trans Agenda is "Beloved Home". Their vision is to honor trans people, Indigenous or migrant, built on the understanding that our relationship to this land is connected to our relationship to ourselves and each other.
"We demand a world in which Indigenous cultural practices, land and body sovereignty are respected, where transgender migrants, gender non-conforming, nonbinary, and two-spirit people are never forced to leave our homes, and where we have the freedom of movement to seek out our own belonging and spiritual traditions and in which Black people everywhere are free and liberated."
This is a painting of the San Joaquin River Delta, where the river flows into the bay. Water captures the freedom, movement, and spirit of migration, of people seeking out their homes through waterways. Bodies of water also have a sense of personhood, an idea held by many Indigenous groups that is starting to gain legal traction as a way to protect rivers by giving them rights. As such, this is not a landscape painting but a portrait of the river.
As a trans and non-binary artist, I am particularly interested in making images relating to in-between spaces, like the place where land meets water — abundant and liminal. Growing up in California as the child of immigrants, the San Joaquin River has made it possible for me to find a home here. It gives us water for growing food, creates habitats for the birds and fish and critters, and supports plant life that we need to survive.