Thursday, 27 March 2014

Artist Profile: XXXora

Artist Profile: XXXora 

Once seen, 33-year-old Anglo-Spanish visual and performance artist XXXora is not easily forgotten. Dressed in monochrome and covering one side of her face with a silver mask, she has a distinctive look. “I've had to live in the binary,” she explains. “Now I will continue to enforce these unnecessary binary limitations on my work and appearance until the UK recognises the hermaphrodite in law and adds a third box to the category of gender in passports, following in the footsteps of countries like Australia, New Zealand and India.”

XXXora, whose pseudonym makes reference to chromosomes, was born with ambiguous sexual organs and raised as a boy. It was only after her time at Goldsmith’s College, that she began to live as her female persona. Since her debut exhibition at the Vyner Street Gallery in June 2012, XXXora has been using the power of art to educate and ignite democratic and scientifically led discourse in an attempt to prevent future generations from experiencing the degradation and abuse that she herself has had to endure. Her artwork focuses on androgyny, depicting both naturally occurring hermaphroditic flora and fauna and celebrities or politicians who either are androgynous themselves, or who exploit androgyny in their careers – “the only real role models that Silver Boxers like me have in this binary obsessed society.” 

Last year, XXXora began painting a series called The Captured Hermaphrodite, which seeks to document all naturally occurring hermaphroditic species. Thus far she has painted The Oak Tree, The Clownfish, The Pansy, The Salema and The Apple Tree. The latter, an alternative vision of Adam and Eve, recently provided the stage set for the Winter Pride UK Awards Ceremony. Every year until her death, XXXora promises to produce seven new paintings for the series. “If I'm honest,” she says, “it worries me that I may not live long enough to document and depict all of the different hermaphrodites in nature as there are so many, but I hope other artists will pick up the baton if I am unable to finish the series.” Hopefully, indeed, they will, and hopefully people will start to listen to her message long before then too.

Photograph by Benjamin Wisely

XXXora is currently running a petition, the Silver Bo(x) Campaign, to stop the systematic, irreversible and barbaric genital mutilation of non-consenting Intersex infants.

To see this full profile, please pick up a copy of the April 2014 issue of DIVA magazine.

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