Driven by her faith, Genesis Tramaine is an expressionist and urban evangelist painter.
Tramaine grew up on the 6th floor of the Lafayette Garden Projects in the infamous Bedford- Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn, New York. Surrounded by brick and mortar, black and white, male and female, God and Church – the articulation of these multiple dichotomies form the basis of her work.
Raised on the back benches of Brooklyn’s churches, she soon discovered drawing. Often derided for drawing monsters and funny faces, Tramaine has always created abstract portraits of men and women who transcend gender, colour, and social structures, while affirming her manifest love for the Church. Her social and political conscience as a female painter is strengthened by the constant challenges women of colour face as a result of social inequalities of race, class, and gender.
Tramaine's work is also powerfully influenced by Bible verses and other readings she studied in church: her career as a painter reflects her relationship with God. Her spiritual influences have a strong impact on the composition and depth of each painting. In layering every brushstroke to reveal faces, Tramaine creates pieces with confrontational and provocative uses of colour through an urban-inspired, mixed-media approach.
As part of her experience at Columbia, Tramaine presented “GOD IS TRANS” – a project aimed at creating a visual “safe space” for young, queer creation.
This is a visual movement designed to break down barriers and refuses to pass judgment. For Tramaine, painting as a medium is a vector of fluidity that gives representation to queer-identifying individuals who are graced with faith.
The series combines her skills in printmaking, typography, and portrait painting. It includes large-scale, colour-filled, genderless portraits and three-dimensional installations of visual narratives which exemplify taboo lifestyles and social barriers still present in traditional practices and institutions. The project can be summarised in the leitmotif: “God is. Neither man nor woman. GOD IS TRANS.”
Here, Tramaine glorifies the connection between the queer body and its mind. Referring to herself as an “evangelist painter”, she expresses both a spiritual gift and the capacity to transfer knowledge.
Her work spreads a message of hope, peace, and tolerance whilst also trying to empower the voices of the communities in which Tramaine herself thrives – both as artist and educator.