Transition by Shane Daly
Medium: Acrylic paint on paper
Size: 9 x 12
Artist statement: As an incarcerated person who identifies as non-binary, I am acutely aware that one of the tragic realities in our society is that, whether incarcerated or not, trans individuals are often not free to acknowledge and express who they truly are without facing discrimination, hatred, and violence. My piece represents me and where I am currently on my journey to live honestly and authentically, despite the challenges transitioning in prison entails. Existing as an aberration in a system designed with the purpose of exacting conformity to societal norms is painful. It involves exposing myself to abuse and oppression on a daily basis for the “crime” of refusing to compromise my identity for the convenience of closed-minded authority figures. After an extensive legal battle, I recently became the first person in PA to receive gender-affirming surgery while incarcerated. I will continue to fight the battles I can, lose the vast majority of them, and stand back up every single time. I do this to honor those who fought before me, and so that those who come after me will have a lighter burden to bear. My genuine existence is, in itself, an act of defiance. The person in the painting is moving away from the attempt of society and the department of corrections to force them to deny who they are for the sake of compliance and submission. Most importantly, they are also running toward the manifestation of their unique unconquerable self, which is truly the ultimate demonstration of freedom – wherever they might live.
Image description: This painting has a naked muscular man in mid run. His fists are clinched in in each fist is a different gender symbol one being the circle in the cross woman for a female in the other being a circle, and an arrow symbol for male. Surrounding the man are words written in a calligraphy style on the left text reads “oppress, hate, reject, lock up, gender police, break, control, shun.” On the right. It says “defy, fight, stand up, insist, be your truth”