(WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ) -- Monmouth University’s Center for the Arts and the LGBT+ Older Adult Project, present Aging and the Lived Experiences of Transgender and Gender Nonconforming (T/GNC) Older Adults: Narratives through Art on view in the Pollak Gallery now through March 11. As told in their own voices through art and film, the artists featured in this juried exhibit share some of the diverse lived experiences of transgender and gender nonconforming older adults (T/GNC).
The idea for the exhibition originated when Jeanne Koller, PhD, LCSW, Assistant Professor and Coordinator for the LGBT+ Older Adult Project (OAP), hosted a virtual conference of the same name last year in January 2022. One of panels focused on the lived experiences of individuals who identify as transgender and gender nonconforming (T/GNC). Dr. Koller wanted to create a follow-up program that would serve to increase the understanding of the diverse T/GNC older adult community reaching a larger and more mixed audience using a different platform.
Partnering with the Center for the Arts, they developed a call for entries seeking artists and filmmakers aged fifty and older who identified as transgender or gender nonconforming whose art reflected their journey (emotional, psychological, and/or physical) to live their authentic selves. The artwork in the exhibition, which includes pieces by 6 artists from across the United States, celebrates the strength and resiliency of these individuals, while also sharing the painful challenges encountered. The purpose is to increase understanding and knowledge of the lives of T/GNC older adults while supporting Monmouth University’s commitment to creating an inclusive, affirming, and equitable campus community.
One of the artists in the exhibition, Julien Tomasello who is also a Monmouth University Alum, explains "my current series of work explores, the journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance as an LGBTQ+ gender-fluid person (and artist) has been life long - and continues in exciting and unexpected ways.” Tomasello reflects that, “as an art major at Monmouth in the mid to late 1990's, I never expected to witness an exhibition such as this take place at the University, much less be one of the participating artists. This is a celebratory, full-circle moment."
In conjunction with this gallery exhibition, there will also be a film screening/panel discussion of the film From This Day Forward with director Sharon Shattuck and her parents Trisha and Marcia Shattuck on Friday, February 10th from 11:00am – 1:30pm. In the film, Sharon Shattuck returns home to examine the mystery at the heart of her upbringing: How her transgender father Trisha, and her straight-identified mother Marcia stayed together against all odds. Trisha’s artwork is also featured in the gallery exhibition. Following the film screening/panel discussion there will be an artist reception in the Pollak Gallery from 2:00-3:00pm.
Both the gallery exhibition and the film screening are free and open to the public and are sponsored by Monmouth University’s LGBT+ Older Adult Project, The Center for the Arts and The Intercultural Center.
The Pollak Gallery is located adjacent to the Pollak Theatre (400 Cedar Avenue) in West Long Branch, New Jersey. It features regional artists, collaborates with community organizations on special exhibitions, and exhibits the work of special needs populations.