The paintings portray each child in dreams they envisioned. Some are silly and playful, others earnest and serious. To create these portraits, Grigni connected with seven trans kids across New England, ranging in ages from 6 to 12, and interviewed them about their dreams for the future. The paintings illustrate the ideas they described, ranging from making music and writing stories, to intricate scenes of fallen angels crying tears of joy, and celestial wolves circling in the sky. The scenes depicted in these portraits, painted using soft and vibrant jewel tones, are connected by motifs of stars and flowers, and by simple circles reminiscent of halos framing each child’s head. The halos serve as a reminder that the dreams of trans children—just like the dreams of all children—are sacred and deserve to be nurtured and celebrated.
The portraits are displayed alongside watercolor illustrations by Grigni from the book It Feels Good To Be Yourself by Theresa Thorn. The book was created to introduce and celebrate the concept of gender identity for young readers. The exhibition also features a cozy book nook with drawing prompts focusing on identity and dreams, inviting Museum visitors to read, write, and create their own masterpieces highlighting their dreams.
“This important exhibit continues Boston Children’s Museum’s long history of giving voice to individuals who advocate for the health and well-being of all kids,” said Carole Charnow, President & CEO. “We want all children to feel that they can be themselves and that their identity and voice matter.”
Grigni grew up in Georgia and came out as a trans boy at age 13. They created this exhibition to provide a small group of trans kids with something that they lacked growing up: agency, affirmation, and community. With this exhibition, Grigni hopes to make space for trans kids to express themselves on their own terms, meet each other, and connect with the larger trans community. This exhibition is for trans kids, but it is also for everyone: each and every one of us plays a part in building a better future and protecting trans dreams.
The “Protect Trans Dreams: A Portrait Project” exhibit will be open through July 24, 2022. For additional information, please visit www.BostonChildrensMuseum.org