Participating artists include Rhea Ewing, top (“Faith”), Nicole Bresnick, bottom left (“Flower Man”) and Kaci Sullivan (self-portrait).
Kaci Sullivan is a transgender man. He is also 10 weeks pregnant. Sullivan will be exhibiting a painting of one of his ultrasound images at the first art show hosted by the TransLiberation Coalition, an organization he founded in September.
“We know best what our experience looks like,” says Sullivan, who hopes the April 15 event will generate visibility for people who are transgender or gender-noncomforming and empower them in the face of political opposition and media distortion. “We should be the ones having access to those platforms. When people try to tell stories that aren’t theirs, even when it’s from a place of wanting to help, there’s a certain damage that’s done.”
Sullivan also started a website, transliberation.space. The site features poetry, essays and interviews by trans and GNC people. There are links to art — including Sullivan’s nude self-portraits — as well as a marketplace of products and services by and for members of the trans and GNC community.
Madison queer political punk band Token Minority is on tap to perform at the art show, which is slated for noon to 4 p.m. at the High Noon Saloon. Local transfeminine author Cali Juniper will also read excerpts from her autobiographical novella. The event will showcase paintings, drawings, photography, educational materials and baked goods.
Sullivan hopes the show is not only a place for people in the trans and GNC community to connect, but a way to educate the broader Madison community.
“Art has a way of transcending barriers,” Sullivan says. “There’s common feelings that are relevant to every human experience that you can connect to. That’s when real understanding and real empathy happen.”