Imogen-Blue Hinojosa’s Intimate Self-Portraits Shine a Light on Trans Identity - ELEPHANT

The artist introduces her Liturgía and Pearl photographic series, as featured in Elephant's new print issue.

Still from Liturgía, 2020

The following images come from two bodies of work I created during my process of transitioning, which seek to spark new dialogues around trans identity and narratives in order to create change and awareness for the trans community.

The first series, Liturgía, is the culmination of work I made in residence at A4 Sounds as part of the We Only Want the Earth 2020 programme in Dublin. It takes its point of departure from the ever-rising death toll of trans women of colour worldwide. Research shows that in 2019 there were around 400 reported murder cases in the US. My home state of Texas made up about 33 of those cases, all of whom were persons of colour.

(Self Portrait) La Pietà, 2020

Liturgía plunges us into a world of new mythologies, drawing comparisons between the Catholic martyrdom of saints and the real tangible bodies of those we have lost in the trans community. Operating in the liminal space between death and rebirth, searching for retribution and acknowledging these new canonised saints of self-becoming, I want to invite the viewer into a fantasy realm of beatific vision and grief, where relationships between trauma, desire and myth are given form. The voice materialises through the light Chantilly curtains, then disappears into thin air. From relics growing crystals and pearls, sensuous but ethereal, cloaked in skin-like raiments, the martyr emerges.

“I want to invite the viewer into a fantasy realm of beatific vision and grief, where relationships between trauma, desire and myth are given form”

The second series, Pearl, utilises photography, installation and performance to question the innate performativity of the self, by questioning the substance of the Western standards of class, gender and wealth. In these images, I meet the viewer’s gaze with their own subjectivity and utilise the suspension of disbelief as a method of normalising the trans body and experience. I reverse the viewer-viewed power dynamic by using the gaze as a weapon.

(Self Portrait) The Dancer, 2020

The photographs consist of self-portraiture created during the first year of my transition, some of which were collaborations with men. I invited them to dress me according to their desires and perceptions of how I should portray my femininity. The results slip between autobiography and fiction, documenting a performance that challenges the sexualisation of my body.


Elephant #45

Explore the full series in our current print issue

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