Billboard celebrating trans bodies vandalized in SE Portland

Multnomah County

The photographer is crushed his friends didn't even have a chance to see the billboard

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A local photographer’s billboard celebrating transgender people was defaced within days of going up. 

SaveArtSpace, a non-profit art gallery, selected Portland photographer Nyjah Gobert as part of a nationwide Trans People are Sacred campaign

Gobert’s billboard, which celebrated trans bodies, was installed on July 8 at Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard and Southeast 19th Avenue. But soon, he found the billboard had been defaced. 

“I went through so many renditions of the billboard. I went through a really long photo shoot, bless my friends who were a part of it, I mean, it was their time too and they didn’t even get to go to the billboard. They didn’t even get to see themselves out there,” Gobert said. 

Gobert hopes the campaign will be able to re-install his work.

In the meantime, he said it’s another sign that intolerance still lives in the Portland community. 

SaveArtSpace’s co-founder, Travis Rix, told KOIN 6 News that the non-profit has installed artwork for the Trans People Are Sacred public art billboard campaign in more than 10 cities and Portland is the first to experience vandalism.

Rix said billboard companies have policies that if the image is vandalized, they will replace it at no or low cost.

“SaveArtSpace is by and for the people and we will work the billboard company, and pay any fees to get this work back up to its correct and empowering state,” Rix wrote in an email.

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