Ramon Azzopardi Fiott’s digital painting, rendered in a neo-fauvist style, is a heartfelt tribute to an important figure in his life, his “inherited godchild” Robin Fiott. The artwork, titled “Ze,” aims to honour and represent the often marginalised gender fluid/non-binary community. Though many of Fiott’s works focus on some sort of loss or struggle, in this particular instance, the artist’s inspiration is rooted in a profound sense of awe and admiration.
“I feel like genderfluidity has opened me up to the world and my most nuanced humanness. For me, and of course, I can only speak for myself through my lived experience, genderfluidity means existing in a liminal space.
A liberating space which transcends the need for gender boundaries, reducing heteronormative expectations to dust – it allows me to explore the simultaneous [un]certainty of being in constant motion and stillness. By this I am referring to the constant motion of being on a gender spectrum through which I fluctuate. To me, gender doesn’t exist as an oversimplified binary- either cismale or cisfemale, transmasc or transfemme. Instead, on any given day or at any moment, I can feel myself align with any part of the gender spectrum – non-binary, female, male, androgynous, more masc, more femme.
Through myself I channel the divine femininity and masculinity, making sure to leave space for both, for everything in between, allowing the spectrum to breathe as it must. I meet myself with the grace to feel out where and how I fall everyday. Genderfluidity affords me a window into exploring an understanding of what it means to be constantly societally carving out space for myself [and how oppressive it feels when I don’t]. This means continually pushing past societal constructs of what it means to exist in a space which is limited through a two gendered lens [one of the many products of colonialism; read ALOK Vaid-Menon ’s work or listen to podcast Finding Our Way by Prentis Hemphill S3Ep2]. I carry myself with the freedom to co-construct, alongside other members of the
queer/genderfluid/non-binary/trans communities, the magic behind existing in an expansive, liminal space. This nuance demands more recognition, and in so doing, a dissection and dismantling of socio-political, psychological structures and internalizations of patriarchal, cisgender binaries, steeped in heteronormativity.
The uncertainty as well as the certainty, rests in the fluidity – a part of which feels like I am always waiting to settle into a space of belonging. In saying this however, it is of dire importance to note that this fluidity and the freedom it affords, is very
different to, and thus should never be compared, to the transphobic notion of being gender confused. This is an oppressive, colonial term which does not leave any space for the beautiful variety and expansiveness that is transness. This is why the idea of being gender confused must be disempowered.
The fluidity in genderfluidity, is my home. Being able to lean into it, falling into the liminality and uncertainty it lives alongside, has expanded my existence in ways that aligning to a gender binary, even if this is in queerness, could never afford me. Resting in genderfluidity is the most poignant, clear certainty that I will always be able to find myself. Gracing me with what are, in the words of the great Audre Lorde, an opportunity to “be being”. In genderfluity, regardless of where I fall, I am always me. And that for me is liberation, is freedom, is embodied peace.”
– By Robin [isabelle Anne] Cassar Fiott [they/them]
Having always recognized the arbitrary nature of gender norms, Ramon draws upon his upbringing. Growing up, his parents defied traditional domestic gender roles, contrasting with the assumptions made by his educators and peers. These experiences, combined with his later exploration of his own sexuality and same sex relationships, led him to question and break free from societal expectations.
Throughout his artistic journey, Ramon Azzopardi Fiott has found solace in celebrating the beauty of gender non-conforming individuals. Influenced by renowned figures like Frida Kahlo, or Stormé DeLarverie, and by his cherished cousin and artist, Robin, whose presence gifts the artist fresh perspectives, as if discovering new colours that enhance his perception of the world. This celebration of diversity and uniqueness highlights the vibrancy that arises from embracing individuality, rather than conforming to a monotonous sameness.