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Art provides an avenue for a challenging journey

For artist Dexter Rosengrave, study has involved using work to survive a very personal journey in a trusted environment.

And in all aspects Dexter has made great achievements.

Graduating this Thursday in Fine Arts with First Class Honours, Dexter has used art to forge through their transgender journey as well as to try to educate people more widely with a unique snapshot of what being transgender means.

“I feel a great sense of relief to be graduating,” Dexter said.

“It’s been a really intense year of study and self-exploration, so I feel really happy to be wrapping the year up with First Class Honours. I am proud of myself for getting through it and creating the work that I did.”

“My Honours project grew out of frustration of not being adequately represented within the media as someone who does not identify with the gender binary — I shift uncontrollably between the masculine and the feminine and have no intention of physically transitioning so I wanted to make a work that represented this experience for me.”

Dexter’s work, which is a combination of photography, time-based media and performance art, attracted the prestigious funded Rosamond McCulloch Studio residency in Paris for 2019 (which offers a three-month residency in Paris at the end of next year) as well as an artist in residency position at the School of Creative Arts next year to complete a major body of work which is being funded by an ANZ & Sydney Mardi Gras Community Grant.

“The main reasons why I do this work is to feel more comfortable within myself and achieve self- acceptance while also creating awareness and visibility of the transgender struggle,” Dexter said.

While in France Dexter hopes to be able to compile and afterwards bring back some valuable research to Tasmania.

“In France my project will focus on the shifting legislation around trans rights in France following the recent removal of the requirement for a person to undergo significant surgery and or psychiatric assessment to legally change their gender,” Dexter said.

“I thought it would be interesting to see what impact the changes have had on the trans and broader community and build a body of work around this. I’d like to bring that story back here to hopefully promote change.”

Dexter said the positive and life-long significance of being a student at the School of Creative Arts could not be understated.

“I can’t stress the importance of having a studio space and of the support I have received at UTAS,” Dexter said.

“I have learnt throughout my degree that I can use my art practice as a coping mechanism and strategy to deal with my oppression and that’s really difficult at times, but without it I just wouldn’t have survived.”

“My studies here have given me the language I need to talk about my experience through written and visual expression. It has been a really life changing experience.”

Hear more about Dexter's journey and art at:

Published on: 27 Jan 2021 4:32pm