I now recognise and identify as Non Binary gender (AMAB).
Over the years I have often felt like a fellow traveller, an ally.
I’m an artist. I guess I’m an artist because no words can express who I am.
So I recognise that I’m dealing with approximations and uncertainty.
Painting, making art, is how I express myself. Sometimes it’s about self discovery, often a journey into the unknown.
Do I know who I am?
Part of my artwork is about narratives, creating and recording stories.
Working on an LGBTQIA+ exhibition in Edinburgh earlier this year, I became aware that I had another narrative to write and illustrate; a new narrative that would attempt to combine my life experiences, artwork and my understanding of gender. To gather evidence for the story involved solving a mystery. The most exciting mystery stories are the most unexpected, yet all the necessary evidence is staring at you, right under your nose.
I began analysing my artwork as evidence. I had become a kind of artist-detective investigating my own life and work.
I came across a quote, or made one up – ‘Gender as a metaphor’. I wanted to try to understand what this might mean. It seemed to suggest that gender was something that stood for ‘something else’, like a symbol.
In my own work I saw themes of beauty, glamour, sensuality, colour, femininity. What made me me was creating art. But what was the art and what did it stand for?
The artwork seemed to suggest a different me. I was aware of the use of the expression ‘Spectrum’, describing a point,or points, on an imaginary line. What spectrum was there for me to recognise in relation to sexuality and gender?
What I experienced and recognised within my work was for me a kind of fluidity. A gender fluidity.
I keep going back to my artwork. I can never fully understand it, the work explains better than I can. However, I was struggling to get an inkling of why certain images are important, why some images stand out and speak to me above the ‘noise’ of living.
My human gender edifice, (which was never built of solid rock), was shaken to the core. It had been dismantled and was waiting to be rebuilt. I am a site waiting to be built upon, ready to rise up like a Non Binary Phoenix.
Words and art by Chris Kent
Chris is an artist based in Edinburgh and the Borders, who has recently recognized themself as Non-Binary gender. To view more of their art, visit their website at: www.christopherwkent.com