SFMOMA exhibit celebrates the ‘magnificent beauty’ of 33 Bay Area trans activists

“I Am Very Lucky, Very Lucky to Be Trans” at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

“I Am Very Lucky, Very Lucky to Be Trans,” is a new installation in San Francisco that appropriates the form of the religious polyptychs, mixing catholic imagery and queer nightclub aesthetics. It features portraits of thirty-three Bay Area trans, intersex, and gender-nonconforming activists and cultural leaders at the forefront of revolutionary advocacy. These activists are working for the human rights and sustainable futures of queer and trans people, nationally and internationally. Their voices are present throughout the space, sharing how their life experiences have shaped their work, leadership, and vision they have fiercely fought for. Interstitial hymns written and performed by Freddie activate the space with an ode to queer kinship and intergenerational connection.  

Taking over a full wall, these leaders are imparted with the divine status often given to religious icons and celebrated for work that has always been present but rarely acknowledged. As anti-trans sentiment and legislature grow,  Pardo Ariza states, “Celebrating and uplifting the work of Black and Brown folks in leadership positions is more important and necessary than ever.” This project centers on those fighting for a better future for their communities and honors their labor, strength, and magnificent beauty.  

Leaders from these organizations are part of the exhibition: California TRANScends, Castro LGBTQ Cultural District, Dimensions Queer Youth Clinic, El/La Para TransLatinas, Our Trans Home SF, Parivar Bay Area, the San Francisco Office of Transgender Initiatives, St. James Infirmary, the Transgender District, and the Transgender Law Center. With a music soundtrack by Freddie Seipoldt.

Featuring: Adam Reyes, Adela Vázquez, Alexis Jiménez, Anjali Rimi, Arianna Salinas, Aubrey Davis, Boo Parker, Cecilia Chung, Celine Seno, Donna Personna, Ebony Ava Harper, Esteban Rodriguez, Honey Mahogany, Ivory Smith, Joaquin Remora, Julián Delgado Lopera, Jupiter Peraza, Kiesha Lambino, Lana Patel, Lashai Williams, L’Oreal Earle, Natasha Tansey, Nicole Santamaria, Pau Crego, Porshay, Taylor, Rocky Davis, Sage Hapke, Sam Favela, Sathya Baskaran, Shane Zaldivar, Sofía Sabina Ríos Dorantes, Tina Aguirre, and Victoria Castro.

I Am Very Lucky, Very Lucky To Be Trans, 2022 by Marcel Pardo Ariza is a part of the SECA Art Award Exhibition. Curated by Jovanna Venegas & Andrea Nitsche-Krupp, it will be on view at the SFMOMA through May 29, 2023.

All photos courtesy of Marcel Pardo Ariza.