Hi, I have very big news!!! In 2019, an art educator from Boston Children’s Museum reached out and asked me if I was interested in displaying my work there. I said yes, of course, so we made plans for an exhibition featuring a brand new body of work, celebrating local trans kids. Then covid hit, the museum closed, the world turned upside down, and it all got postponed… until now!
For the past year, I have been working with a small group of 7 trans kids local to New England, getting to know them and painting portraits of them. I interviewed these kids about their dreams — their creative ideas, fantasies, hopes for the future, and visions for a better world. I painted large scale acrylic portraits illustrating the dreams they described to me, some silly and playful, others earnest and serious.
Getting to know these kids and witnessing their joy, has been the most transformative experience. These kids have truly changed the way I see the world, and kept me going on days when I wanted to give up. I am very excited to announce my exhibition in honor of them, Protect Trans Dreams at Boston Children’s Museum! 🎉🎉🎉
Show dates: April 13th to July 24th, 2022
Informal opening: Sunday, April 17th, 1:30 - 4:30 ($1 tickets)
The exhibition is not ticketed separately, it's included with general museum admission. $1 tickets are available on Sunday afternoons only, and can be found under "discount programs" on the museum's website.
I’ve been working so hard on this for so long, I can’t believe it’s finally happening!! See you there!
To get in touch with me about this show or anything else, email me at email@example.com.
Here are a few paintings from the show, and my artist statement below:
Protect Trans Dreams: A Portrait Project by Noah Grigni
on display at Boston Children’s Museum from 4/13/22 to 7/24/22
Protect Trans Dreams is an exhibition of large-scale acrylic paintings celebrating local trans kids and their visions for the future, by trans artist, children’s book illustrator, and organizer Noah Grigni (they/them). These portraits are displayed alongside Grigni’s original watercolor illustrations from the children’s book It Feels Good To Be Yourself, written by Theresa Thorn, a book that introduces the concept of gender identity to young readers. The exhibition also features a cozy book nook, where museum visitors are invited to read, write, draw, and reflect on their own identity and dreams.
To create these portraits, Grigni connected with 7 trans kids across New England, ranging in ages from 6 to 12. Grigni interviewed them about their joy, dreams, wishes, fantasies, and hopes for the future. These paintings illustrate the ideas they described, portraying the 7 children on their own terms, in the dream worlds they imagined. Some paintings are silly and playful, while others are earnest and serious. The participating kids described creative visions that range from aspirations like making music and ending pollution, to intricate scenes of fallen angels and celestial wolves circling in the sky. The scenes depicted in these portraits, painted in soft and vibrant jewel tones, are connected by motifs of stars and flowers, and by simple circles reminiscent of halos that frame each child’s head. The halos serve as a reminder that the dreams of trans children—just like the dreams of all children —are sacred, and deserve to be nurtured and celebrated.
Grigni grew up in Georgia, and came out as a trans boy at the age of 14. They shifted into a nonbinary identity after moving to Boston at age 19, and learning from the community they found there that gender is more fluid and expansive than they had ever imagined. Grigni says the lack of trans representation in their childhood made it difficult to imagine a future for themself; this is why they struggled with self harm and suicidality as a teen. This is also why their work now focuses on celebrating trans joy, trans futures, and trans dreams. Grigni wants trans kids to know that they can do anything, that they deserve the world, and that there are strong and loving communities waiting to welcome them. With this exhibition, Grigni hopes to make space for trans kids to express themselves on their own terms, meet each other, and connect with community. This exhibition is for trans kids first and foremost, but it is also for everyone, because everyone plays a part in imagining a better future, and protecting trans kids in their right to dream.