On Display in Pollak: Aging and the Lived Experiences of Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming (T/GNC) Older Adults: Narratives through Art

The Pollak Gallery is currently hosting the “Aging and the Lived Experiences of Transgender and Gender Non-conforming (T/GNC) Older Adults: Narratives through Art” until March 11, exhibiting works that highlight the powerful experiences of these individuals as well as to promote inclusivity.

The exhibit features artwork from a variety of T/GNC artists across different mediums, including photography, oil pastels, collages, and film. A film screening and panel discussion was held for the documentary film “From This Day Forward” by Emmy-Nominated director and filmmaker Sharon Shattuck with her parents Trisha and Marcia Shattuck in attendance through Zoom. The film, released in 2015, documents the beautiful story of Trisha’s transition.

Jeanne Koller, Ph.D., an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work, stated, “Where there is visibility there is hope. The art exhibit and film screening of ‘From this Day Forward’ centers T/GNC individuals’ unique voices, journeys, narratives, and experiences and make their lives visible.”

Trisha’s paintings are also included in the current exhibit in the Pollak Gallery along with other artists surrounding the theme of transitioning at an older aged and what that experience entails. In addition to the film, there was a panel discussion regarding the documentary.

One of the pieces that also stood out was a painted scroll by artist Alexander Rahne titled “I Am The End of the Patriarchy And So Can You (study).” The phrase “End Every Binary” is painted on the work, which can be seen as challenging the traditional binary system of gender stereotypes and represent a key theme of the exhibit collectively.

Scott Knauer, The Director of Galleries and Collections, expressed, “The exhibition presented in the Pollak Gallery is really a wonderful display of artwork that presents so many varied experiences. These experiences translate and show the impact they have made for the trans youth of today. It’s inspiring to see the work through the lens of older trans people, which alludes to deeper layers than what is seen at face value. I would hope that visitors to the exhibition will give cishet people a window into trans lives, as well as giving trans and other younger LGBTQ+ people a sense of history, both in art and in life, and of how far we have come. The rich visuals, displayed in the artworks on exhibit, using a variety of media, help to convey the artist’s important experience.”

Madyson Lagotta, a junior graphic design student who created a poster project relating to the exhibit, said, “In the research I did for my poster, the Monmouth University Gallery Exhibitions makes it apparent that they actively want to include all voices. On top of that, they strive to showcase to not only the students and faculty but the community at large. Having this exhibition on our campus and open to the public is an amazing thing. The fact that our university is not only showing their support of this artist, but the transgender and non-gender conforming people overall is a wonderful experience.”

Koller concluded, “The goal [of the exhibit] is to increase awareness and understanding of the lives of T/GNC individuals for the campus community and for the public. These events, sponsored by the LGBT+ Older Adult Project, Monmouth Center for the Arts, and Intercultural Center, support Monmouth University’s commitment to be an inclusive, affirming, and equitable campus with the hope that all our students, staff, and faculty feel supported.”

Aging and the Lived Experiences of Transgender and Gender Non-conforming (T/GNC) Older Adults: Narratives through Art is on exhibit in the Pollack Gallery until March 11, 2023, and is open Monday-Friday from 10a.m.-7p.m. and Saturday-Sunday from 10a.m.-4p.m.