If most people are a product of their environment, then it will often hold true that the art born of those same people will reflect in kind.

Artist and painter Genesis Tramaine will agree and testify, proselytize and sanctify, amen! Tremaine refers to herself as an “urban evangelist painter,” because her mission as an artist is to share the Biblical gospel of Genesis in a way that is contemporary and relatable to those who have ever felt disenfranchised or somehow outside of the Bible’s message.

Genesis Tramaine was born and raised in Bed-Stuy, on the 6th floor of 325 Lafayette Garden Projects, across the street from the 88th Police Precinct and down the block from Pratt Institute, “between the crossroads of God’s glory and doing the wrong thing,” laughs Tremaine. But, she says, the experience shaped the essential parts of who she is as an artist today.

“Growing up in Brooklyn in the projects means there’s a different type of culture at your fingertips,” she says. “You only get one set of everything. You use what’s near you. You’re always conscious about running out of things, and so it means you have to be good the first time; you’re not offered second chances.”

Raised under the supportive arms of her mother and the firm religious teachings of her grandmother, Tramaine’s talent for art was discovered at very early age, and her mom always encouraged her to keep drawing.

“My mom would put my pictures up, and that made it seem important to me,” Tremaine says. “That’s when I realized I should keep going.”

She also was encouraged to read the Bible often, attend church and build an almost inextricable relationship between herself, Jesus and her personal beliefs, despite what others might think or say.

But what happens when that self-affirmation includes the realization that you are at once a project girl who is God-fearing, out-the-box creative… and queer?

“’You’re going to hell’ is still echoed in my mind,” said Tramaine of the responses she received from some of those in her religious practice, although her prayers and theological research in biblical text confirmed that God loves everyone…

“My grandmother taught me about Jesus and she taught me about who Jesus was in me. And if I had not grown up in that understanding, I would not be able to paint from a platform that says God is not male or female. That says God is a spirit that occupies us all and that we have access to the Jesus that is… to the Jesus that is the inside and outside,” she says.

“I believe that it is my charge: to recondition our visual understanding of who Jesus is.”

On Saturday, June 16, Genesis Tramaine will celebrate the opening of her latest exhibit, GOD IS TRANS at the Richard Beavers Gallery in Bedford Stuyvesant.

The Black Virgin Doll,
by Genesis Tremaine, 2018,
Oil and Acrylic on Canvas
48 × 36 in; 121.9 × 91.4 cm

GOD IS TRANS interrupts the notion that God is male and asks the viewer to see God outside of traditional gender binaries, as transgender– a spirit that occupies both genders and everything in between.

On a denim canvas, Tramaine uses oil, acrylic, spray paint and pastels for an explosion of colors. The results are faces that draw the viewer in; faces representing Biblical characters of African likeness; faces depicting the various stories told in the chapter Genesis. From an 8-year-old Jesus with dreadlocks, to when Jesus was in the wilderness, to the elation of Mary and Joseph falling in love, to the poignant moment Mary discovered she was pregnant, Tramaine brings believability, relevance and a refreshingly contemporary bend to stories that, to some, might read like fables of dubious origin or intent.

Employing what is now her signature style of incongruity punctuated with pieces of familiarity, Tramaine’s paintings manage to reengage those who remain on the border of religious opinion or belief while offering spiritual fluidity to those who already love God.

“I’m a mixed media painter, artist and evangelist. What I do here is a blessing,” says Tramaine.

“I really believe it is my charge to recondition our visual understanding of who Jesus is in our lives. As a painter, the greatest gift I’ve been given is a platform to give my understanding of who God is back.

“You know, we are reflections… And well, God is trans.”

WHAT: GOD IS TRANS, The Exhibit

WHEN: June 16, 2018 – August 11, 2018; Opening Reception: June 16, 2018 | 6:00pm – 9:00pm; Artist Talk: June 17, 2018 | 3:00pm – 5:00pm

WHERE: Richard Beavers Gallery, 408 Marcus Garvey Boulevard

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  1. No God is not trans. God is a Spirit neither in the form of male or female. However, when God wrapped Himself in human flesh to come and dwell amongst humanity, He did so in the form of Jesus Christ the Son. He came in the form of man! And he did so not to show Himself as God, but to show how humanity was to live. There is nothing in the Bible that will allow anyone to believe that God is accepting of homosexuality in any form or fashion. This is not to put any sin above or below another, but we have to stop allowing homosexuality to be considered “okay” in the eyes of God. It’s not. Therefore associating any terminology that was created by the LGBT community and associating it with God is unacceptable.

    We wouldn’t have parades and pride for murders, child molesters, adulterers, fornicators, those who participate in beastiality, etc., therefore why is it okay to take pride in this form of sin. Does God love everyone? ABSOLUTELY. However, God does not like the sin acts performed by His creation. If I cheated on my husband, I wouldn’t jump on a float and should to the world “Hey I’m an adulterer”. If I molested a child, I would stand in front of a church and say “Hey I like to force myself upon children”. If I stole something from a store, I wouldn’t proclaim aloud “Hey, I’m a thief”. My point is did create the adulterer, the molester, and the thief…yes He did. He created the person, but He didn’t create those sinful acts inside of them. Because of Adam’s disobedience, we all the proclivity to sin, but God also gives us the power of choice, therefore the same we can choose not to steal, lie, molest, cheat, etc. we can also choose not to engage in the sin of homosexuality. So whether you claim to be born a certain way doesn’t mean you have the right to live that way.

    Whatever people in the world do is up to them because they’re still in bondage by the enemy, they’re blinded by him thus when they sin, it’s their nature to do so. But when you claim to live your life for God and are born again you MUST deny yourself…and that includes the sin nature you once had. Will you continue to sin, yes but you must allow the process of santification to convict of you those acts. If not, you’re no different then those in bondage by the enemy.

    This is not a hate post (I have when people say that so easily because one speaks upon their belief in the word of God) but it’s a post to speak to those who say they serve God but yet continues to conform societies way of living. If that’s what you choose to do, you most certainly can, but don’t say you love God and serve Him, but you’re going against the very thing He deems to be sin.

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