Jac Gelbart


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Fascinated by the world around him, Jac Gelbart is a visual artist and science student particularly intrigued by algae and aquatic creatures.

Environmental sustainability being of high importance when approaching a project, the act of transforming discarded objects into foundations for a new artwork is one he found immensely satisfying when working on this piece, and Jac looks forward to practising more of this alchemy in future works.
Saltwater Sanctuary (2022)
Mixed media (packaging, found items, card & more)

Life beyond a male-female binary is not exclusive to humans. In the four species of fish depicted in Saltwater Sanctuary (the pink anemonefish, cleaner wrasse, royal dottyback and moray eel), individuals may physically and socially transition from one sex to another during their lifetime, or possess characteristics of both male and female (as humans recognise them), simultaneously.

This isn’t quite parallel to the way that humans experience gender and transition. Our gender can be felt and expressed in far more nuance than the ‘point A to point B’ transition of anemonefish, and we hold the blessing and burden of self-determination; our transitions are deliberate actions and choices, and physical
transition, for humans, is just one aspect of the trans experience, hardly the defining aspect nor a prerequisite.

However, for as many millennia as humans have been trying to apply definitions and rules to make sense of the world around, life has been defying those rules without effort. For a marine biology enthusiast such as myself, these fish are a comfort and a reminder that one’s designation at birth is just the starting-off point.
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