Welcome to Transilience, a celebration of artwork by Transgender, Nonbinary, and Two Spirit artists from in and around Montana.
TransVisible Montana and the Holter have partnered with Transgender, Nonbinary, and Two Spirit Artists for the grand re-opening of the Museum from January through March of 2023! This partnership was formed with the mission of bringing artists from within and around Montana to promote visibility, to honor and celebrate the work, impact, and contributions of Transgender, Nonbinary, and Two Spirit Artists from in and around Montana.
After a statewide Call to Artists, nine artists bring their work to the Holter, with two artists receiving a camera and a small stipend to create a new photography exhibit in the Bair Gallery, with other artists displaying a group show through Nicholson, Held, and Millikan Galleries.
Throughout this momentous exhibit, partner organizations are hosting events to expand, honor, and hold space for community members, artists, and the Transgender, Nonbinary, and Two Spirit community.
*As with all events and gatherings held at the Holter, hateful speech, intimidation, or aggressive behavior of any kind will not be welcome or tolerated.*
Dylan Albans (they/them): Dylan Albans (they/them), 28, is a film photographer and activist for worker & renter rights in Missoula, MT. Since shooting on film comes with a cost & a limited number of exposures, they appreciate that the medium gently asks them to shoot patiently and intentionally. They try their best to capture people in the ways they feel beautiful and rarely edit their photos. Please support them on Patreon at patreon.com/dylanalbans & on Instagram @DylanAlbansPhotography.
Cohen Anaya (he/him): Cohen Anaya is a self-taught multimedia artist. He grew up in Flagstaff Arizona. Fifteen years ago, he left Arizona for Helena Montana. To say it was hard is an understatement. It was a very pivotal time in his life. He felt like he was losing a part of his heart and culture while also coming to terms with his true identity. It took him a long time to find his community in Helena. When he finally did, the support he had made his transition possible. His creativity helps him work through his emotions and express his true self.
Painting, photography, collages, jewelry, dance, landscape gardening, and home renovations are some of his favorite creative outlets. He draws inspiration from Arizona’s bold vivid colors and Montana’s beautiful landscapes, as well as his family’s culturally diverse traditions.
Cohen has a degree in fine arts and humanities. He has been displaying and selling his art for more than six years.
Bri Mango: After being given the secret of irin or iron by Ọrunmila, the Yoruba spirit of wisdom, Ogun descended from the heavens on a spiders web to clear a path for the other spirits with an axe of iron. Ogun noticed that, after descending, humanity was using primitive and weak tools, the wilderness proving dangerous and formidable for early man. Ogun took pity on these people and, in an earthly form, came to humankind and showed to them how to make iron and how to shape metal in the very same way as he was taught by Orunmila. A grateful humanity crowned Ogun, the Orisha or godly spirit of iron and metalworking, as their first king.
Through my work I wish to evoke the spirit of Ogun, offering humanity simple hand crafted work. With marks left by my hammer, I celebrate the nature of rustic pieces that echo not only the ways in which they were formed but also the stories that inspire them. Seeing that I am a metalsmith by trade, steel, iron, copper, brass and silver are my chosen media and being a descendant of Nigerian victims of the transatlantic slave trade, the Yoruba legends of Ogun resonate within my bones, his voice ringing with every hammer strike. Metalsmithing is an extremely personal and emotional experience for me, one that thrusts me into an ancestral plane where I may meet, channel and convene with my peoples history.
Dre Castillo: My name is Dre Castillo aka Andrea Castillo. I am Ashiihii (Salt Clan) born for the To’ahanii (Near-the-Water Clan) and was born in the Navajo Nation. My grandparents Gilmore and Della Graymountain of Navajo Mountain, AZ raised me. I am a bilingual, Two Spirited, Diné Multicultural Artist who resides in Missoula, MT (Pronouns: they/them/theirs). From childhood, I had always known myself to be an artist and a storyteller. With the encouragement and loving support of my traditional grandmother, she gifted to me my very first canvas, hand tanned sheep skin, that I had tied to willow branches found on the canyon lands of Canyon De Chelly in Arizona and my very first drawing utensil, Charcoal, from the embers of the fire. These two items had sacred traditional meanings to my grandmother and people of the Navajo. I left my ancestral home, the Navajo Nation, to pursue a vocation at Kicking Horse Job Corps and to get my GED, in Ronan, MT in 1994. After receiving my certificates I return to Arizona to work with the Forest Service on the reservation but eventually learned I could not remain on the reservation. I returned to Montana and attended Salish Kootenai College to further my general studies in Fine Arts. Unfortunately, my addictive behavior to alcohol took me away from my passions. My struggled with my identity, addictive behaviors and other life altering traumatic events distracted me to continue my education. Drawing was the only true companionship I had that kept me connected to the world around me. It became my voice through the ups and downs of life as I processed my life path. I eventually made a life altering decision to reconstruct my life with the help of my recovery family in Missoula.
While getting my BA in Native American Studies with a minor in Women’s Gender Studies at the University of Montana, my creative passion of “Picto-Storytelling” re-emerged. I was inspired when I learned to transpose my thoughts and feelings into a visionary art form as I found sobriety and support from my surrounding community of Missoulians.
Today, I express myself in any medium I can get my paws on as I continue to work toward my dream of being an established artist.
Moe Butterfly: Moe Butterfly is a 21 year old, Seneca, Two-Spirit artist. Within his work he does a combination of both traditional and modern Indigenous concentrations with a large emphasis
on Two-Spirit representation. In their free time they also are a Fancy Shawl Dancer and a part of their family’s drum circle. His main medium is digital painting, and can be found to have a
lot of deep, saturated colors. While his art is for everyone to enjoy, he hopes that more than anything that young, Two-Spirit youth will find themselves in his art.
J.O.X: I am J.O.X I identity as Transmasc and ever since I was a child I’ve loved art. I grew up in a dysfunctional home, with little support emotionally and financially. I turned to art as my refuge and escape. If I had to describe my art style I would categorize it as mixed media pop expression with nostalgic tones of personal insight and humor. Humor is a big part of my work and tends to be provocative or heavily weighted in sarcasm. As a Trans-queer person of color living in a predominantly white state, I believe my perspective on life is noticeably different because of obvious different lived experiences. At first, I felt late in my arrival to the Art screen and pursuits of following my dreams. Mainly because I never thought people like myself could be displayed in a museum. Which is why I hope by displaying my works at the the Holter will inspire other young people of color to take a chance on themselves and start wherever you are today. Most of my works are made on found/repurposed pieces of woods or gifted canvas. Let me be proof, that whatever you want in this world – announce it to the universe, show up authentically, and see what happens.
Julian Keller-King: I am a transgender artist, author, and all-around story enthusiast who
grew up in a scattered handful of rural Montana communities, met my life partner while attending university in Missoula, and am now sinking deep roots into family acreage in the wild woods outside Eureka. From a child drawing dinosaurs and unicorns and reading every book in sight (especially if it had dragons) to an adult who… well, let’s be honest, still does, if with a bit more accumulated finesse – I have always sculpted fantastical inner worlds into existence using words, pencils, ink, paint, paper, and whatever else I can find. My work celebrates the power of human storytelling and metaphor to explore, empathise, and connect with each other across the full spectrum of our diverse experiences, with a strong focus on exploring the symbols and tropes found in myths and fairytales. I began exhibiting my work and received certification from the Montana Arts Council’s Artrepreneur Program (MAP) in 2017; since early 2020, I have been
sharing portions of my experiences as a gender-nonconforming individual through my art and public platforms.
Radium Woolf: Okii, hello. My name is Radium C. Woolf, I am (finally) thirty and I am Blackfeet, Yakama, Choctaw and Cree. My Blackfeet name is Mokakakii meaning Wise Woman. I received my name the Spring of 2006 during my 8th grade year of school. I was born and raised on the Blackfeet Reservation in Browning, MT where I now live and teach.
I have a B.S degree in Elementary Education as well as a k-12 Art Education degree. I am currently teaching art at the high school, and I am having so much fun! I basically went into education because I liked to color and kids are cool. During my studies, the majority of my classmates wanted to be teachers to help shape the students into who they think the world needs. What I learned about myself was that’s not my “Why I Teach,” I am a firm believer that I am here to help the students become exactly who they are meant to be in the world. Growing up, I always felt like my teachers, family and even friends wouldn’t accept me if I wasn’t in the top 5 of my class or if I were Two Spirit, like there’s an unspoken stigma about being different on the rez. I am hoping by being the weird art teacher that I am, that my students know that I am here 10000% to help them feel accepted and valued in their life journey.
I feel like my art style is very… Indigenous Surrealism. Like, it’s very obviously indigenous but also personal to myself as a human being. I hope that you are able to enjoy both my artistic growth but my journey towards loving myself as well.
Paxton McCausland: Paxton McCausland (he/they) is a Trans-masc. Non-Binary gender justice organizer. He began his work with photography as a means to capture the beauty in both nature and the Trans body. With a firm belief that Trans bodies are full of light and grace, their intention through photography is to highlight how unique and incredible the Trans experience can be.