VS. Arts Grant

2024 Selected Artist: Hollis Hunter

Hollis Hunter (@fineartbyhollis) is an emerging visual artist in Treaty 6 Territory, Amiskwaciwâskahikan (“Edmonton”), Alberta. Hunter completed his Bachelor of Fine Art in Art and Design at the University of Alberta in 2020.

The artist uses Painting and Sculpture disciplines to visualize concepts from his studies in Sociology, Queer Theory, and Trans Epistemology. 2SLGBTQAP+ representation, rights, and political activism are at the forefront of his work.

Hunter’s artistic practice is informed by his experiences as a queer and trans man. The subject matter in his art references the people, environments, objects, and narratives found in his everyday life. Hunter believes that art is inseparable from community, and uses art-making in community spaces as a medium to foster connections and meaningful change.

Hollis Hunter photo

Artist statement

The overwhelming transphobia of the current political climate frequently smothers my sense of community, power, and passion. Reading Vivek Shraya’s call for this exhibition reminded me that I am not the only one feeling this way, and that I can create an art installation that reconnects our community with trans joy.

Free pin-buttons and postcards are available as part of this artwork. The buttons feature artwork by local queer and trans artists, courtesy of The QUILTBAG. Display and share these generously. You are not alone, and everyone is welcome to share in the joy and struggles of gender-diverse persons, lives, and communities.

“FREE TRANS HEALTH CARE HERE →” is a tribute to iconic interventions by the HIV/AIDS activist art coalitions ACT UP, Gran Fury, and the Silence=Death Collective. Our activist predecessors passed us a voice so that we may be empowered to respond to the ongoing, global legacies of the HIV/AIDS and COVID-19 pandemics.

The lives of people who are trans, non-binary, and gender-diverse are inordinately medicalized, pathologized, and politicized. Clinic waiting rooms are a salient challenge for anyone who does not cleanly fit into cis, heterosexual, and dyadic definitions of gender, sex, and sexuality. Access to gender affirming and trans-specific health care is scarce due to limited specialists and practitioners, 1-3 year long waitlists, and exclusivity to residents in urban centers.

While I cannot offer actual free trans healthcare at Latitude53, I can demand an urgent response to the systemic discrimination of 2SLGBTQAP+ identified patients within Alberta medicare.

– Hollis Hunter

Installation photo

“FREE TRANS HEALTH CARE HERE →” will be exhibited at Latitude 53 from June 8th to July 20th, 2024, as part of BLESSED ARE THE DIS-IDENTIFIERS, also featuring Arielle Twist, Eish Van Wieren, Frankie Elouise, Friday Smith, Kama La Mackerel, and Marsel Reddick.

BLESSED ARE THE DIS-IDENTIFIERS playfully challenges assumptions about “what is trans art” and what it means to defy gender expectations as a direct response to the hyper-identifying and targeting of trans and non-binary people in this province by the government and the media. Curated by Vivek Shraya and Latitude 53.

Join us for the opening reception on June 8th from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm, at Latitude 53, 10130 100 Street NW, Edmonton.