Transitioning is personal, but it is also a public and political experience. A transitioning person’s body is heavily scrutinized; their personal details and private information regarding name, sexuality, and bodily practices are pushed into the public realm, all with the expectation that this information should be freely shared to educate others. There is seldom space to reflect on the embodied experience of both the medical and emotional processes of transitioning.
Saakred’s work is raw, interdisciplinary, and deeply personal. Each time they share live work publicly, it feels like a window into their heart and mind’s inner workings. Like their live performance, Sin Nombre, Sin Cuerpo moves across genres to document and reveal a lexicon for learning to live as a trans Latino.
Trans Act I presents the remnants of their transition. Rather than stand in for the labor involved, these objects allude to the painful, joyful, and oftentimes banal necessities of medical transition. The remnants are quotidian and uniquely Texan: a receipt from HEB, for example, alludes to the struggle to obtain hormones and the danger of doing so as a Latinx person who sometimes “passes” and is at other times targeted. Meanwhile, Trans Act II explores masculinity, machismo, and familiarity in a new body.
Together, Trans: Act One and Act Two interrogate the relationship between sonic protest, ephemeral traces, and institutional suffocation. Existing just outside but also within the university, Saakred’s work offers a dynamic perspective on visibility and livability in Austin for Latino trans men.
Saakred: Sin Nombre, Sin Cuerpo is organized by Christine Gwillim, PhD candidate in Performance as Public Practice and member of Block Party Collective, with Center Space Project.
This exhibition is supported in part by the Center for Mexican American Studies and the Department of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies, the Department of Theatre and Dance, the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies, and the Gender and Sexuality Center at The University of Texas at Austin.
Saakred (b. 1989, San Antonio, TX) is a contemporary artist whose work is influenced by their Tejano heritage. They received their BA at Trinity University (2016) and later studied at the Burren College of Art. Their work has been included in solo and group exhibitions at the McNay Art Museum, San Antonio (2019); the Austin Public Library (2019); Nepantla Gallery, Austin (2019); Bihl Haus Arts, San Antonio (2018); MASS Gallery, Austin (2017); the Museum of Human Achievement, Austin (2017); ATM Gallery, Austin (2017); Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, San Antonio (2015); Noemi Neidorff Art Gallery, San Antonio (2015); the San Antonio Art League Museum (2015); and the Burren College of Art, Ballyvaughan, Ireland (2015). Saakred has performed at the Charlene McCombs Empire Theatre, San Antonio; Navajo Nation Museum, Window Rock, Arizona; Maverick Music Festival, San Antonio; Luminaria Arts Festival, San Antonio; Stargayzer Festival, Austin; the Blanton Museum of Art, Austin; South by Southwest, Austin; and BabesFest, Austin, among others.
About the Curator
Christine Gwillim (b. 1985, Cadillac, MI) is an interdisciplinary artist, educator, and curator. She is a PhD candidate in Performance as Public Practice with portfolios in Museum Studies and Women and Gender Studies at The University of Texas at Austin. Her doctoral research focuses on curatorial practice at contemporary performance festivals. She is a graduate student affiliate with the Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice and leads the Austin chapter of the American Theatre Archive Project. Her writing has appeared in Performance Matters, Sightlines, Written and Spoken and Deeply Fascinating. Christine holds a BA from the University of California at Berkeley and an MA from New York University. She is a member of the curatorial project Block Party Collective.