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Study #4: Christine & Jaye

STUDY # 4: CHRISTINE AND JAYE, loving couple 2006/2007

ChristineFamily to me is not limited by the bonds of blood. I strive to enact a radical definition of family characterized by love, support and acceptance. I think this is a common experience as a queer person—so many in our community face challenging relationships with our biological families that by necessity we explore and create alternative forms of family. As a student I formed strong families with my communal households; and close friends are still definitely part of my family. This does not mean I do not cherish my biological family; I seek authentic, honest, compassionate relationships with my parents, brothers, sister and extended family network and feel blessed to have grown up living with one of my grandmothers. This sculpture expresses the pride I feel in my family of two. It captures the deep love, beauty, respect and equality that I experience in my relationship with my partner jaye. And through jaye I have also been honoured to gain a new family through his biological links.  This sculpture therefore represents the awesome blessing that is my loving partnership, but it also calls to mind those not pictured—my dear friends, our two fuzz-faced cats, my two immediate and extended biological families, and our dreams of parenting children.    

jaye: I am a 26 year old trans identified person.  Born female bodied, I began my transition to the body that more closely resembles my identity (and that I feel most comfortable and myself in) about 5 years ago. My idea of family goes beyond blood connection to a deeper and more spiritual connection. I don’t believe in the “two becomes one” of traditional relationships. I also don’t see the need for “forever,” but instead believe that relationships and connections will last as long as they were meant to and that you will learn from them all. Family can be chosen. I could list many that are important in my life who love and support me in different ways. I believe this sculpture really challenges the assumptions we make about peoples relationships. Seen on the street, with clothes on, people would think my partner and I were a straight couple and, consciously or unconsciously, make all kinds of assumptions about our history, and about how we define our family. By representing us nude, exposing the queerness of our relationship, the sculpture stands to challenge our perceptions, and the assumptions we make based on appearance alone.

Jane Hook Sculpture