Usually, billboards are just big eyesores. A beautiful patch of bright blue sky will get obscured by a giant ad for a movie or some new brand of sparkling water. But, sometimes a billboard springs up and it adds some beautiful art to its environment. That’s the case with a new billboard in Detroit, MI. It’s not only adding some beautiful visuals to the city, but it’s also adding a beautiful message.
A non-binary artist created a billboard with a truly inspiring message for the trans community.
Non-binary trans artist Jonah Welch was selected by Save Art Space, an organization that reclaims public space for art, to create the large-scale art piece in the Sherwood neighborhood of Detroit. They create abstract art that reflects and celebrates queer identity, and so this billboard continues that work with an inspiring message: “Trans people are sacred.”
The billboard can be found at the corner of East Seven Mile and Kempa Street, and it’s Welch’s first large installment. It was curated by Detroit artists Ellen Rutt and Playground Detroit, in addition to Save Art Space.
Welch hopes that the billboard serves as a “rescue flare” for those who need it.
They wrote on Instagram:
All gratitude to my trans/two-spirit/and non-binary indigenous peers esp @infinitedakota for carrying this knowledge through colonization, and for sharing with me this phrase. When I first heard it, it lit my heart on fire.
According to Welch’s artist statement, they make “abstract work that attempts to place trans people within the tradition of the occult. They reference mythology and history of trans embodiment within hermetic alchemical practices, and depict non-binary embodiment in particular as an expression of a long human lineage.”
Their Instagram is filled with lots of beautiful art that incorporates the same phrase from the billboard.
Welch is receiving a lot of positive reactions to the billboard, especially from trans people who appreciate the positive message.
It seems like Welch’s hope of making a positive impact with their work is coming true.