Gender Re-Reveal Party
AK Garski’s Gender Re-reveal Party is an ongoing social practice artwork that examines how traditional gender reveal parties promote the view that there are only two genders, which are based on biology and remain fixed throughout a person’s life. The Gender Re-Reveal Party, is an annual event created in collaboration with LGBTQIA+ student groups to celebrate gender fluidity and rejoice in a wide range of gender expressions.
This project is inspired by Garski’s large-scale observational painting It’s A Girl, a piece that depicts the balloon that was given to Garski’s mother by the hospital when they were born. Packed away in storage for many years, the bright pink paint began to chip away, revealing that the balloon was made of silver Mylar. This material is not stereotypically associated with masculinity or femininity. It reflects whatever the viewer projects onto its surface, physically or psychologically. Mylar was thusly selected as the perfect material from which to make gender-neutral party decorations.
Garski displays this piece when they are asked to participate in group shows that are cis-gender women-focused as a way to reclaim space as a non-binary artist.
Gender Re-Reveal Party at St. Catherine University
In the fall of 2018, Garski collaborated with Dr. Cecilia Konchar Farr’s Literature and Gender Non-Conformity class at St. Catherine University to plan a private party that celebrated trans, non-binary, gender-nonconforming, and LGBTQIA+ students while engaging guests in thoughtful dialogue about gender.
The traditions associated with cis-normative gender reveal parties (such as blue and pink decorations, cake-cutting, and balloon drops) were questioned and reimagined specifically for the celebration of gender non-conforming individuals.
This was the first iteration of Garski’s Gender Re-Reveal social practice artwork, which coincided with Garski coming out publicly as non-binary.
Student Panel Discussion
Providing the opportunity for community dialogue is a crucial component of this social practice piece. It allows the community to learn about the experiences of young adults who identify as LGBTQIA+ within an educational, respectful environment. Each year, Garski facilitates a discussion with a panel of student leaders. Afterwards the audience is invited pair up discuss the following questions:
Describe a time in your life that you behaved (or wanted to behave) in a way that was considered socially unacceptable for your assigned gender. What was the timeframe and setting of your experience? How did you learn that your behavior was considered unacceptable? How did this experience make you feel and how has it impacted your life moving forward?