How lockdown has hit the LGBTQ+ community - new exhibition

Socially Engaged Art Salon’s latest online exhibition Queering Spaces is offered as part of LGBTQ+ History Month at the new LGBTQIA+ Ledward Centre in Brighton.

Gil Mualem Doron - Cape Town Pride Ball
Gil Mualem Doron - Cape Town Pride Ball

Curated by Gil Mualem-Doron, founder of SEAS, it features photography, film and mixed media works from Anthony Luvera, Cathy Cade, Hussina Raja, Luc(e) Raesmith, Nate Lavey and Stephen Vider, Shannon Novak, Tara Brag, Charlotte Graham-Spouge, Queer History Now collective and Gil Mualem-Doron (www.seasbrighton.org). It runs until March 19.

Spokeswoman Charlotte Graham-Spouge said: “The LGBT community and its most vulnerable members have been harder hit than many by the Covid-19 crisis, the lockdowns and social distancing.

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“The pandemic has brought back the trauma of the AIDS crisis, forcing the community to see how vulnerable and marginalised some of us are, and it has promoted discussions about the importance of safe spaces when for some of us ‘#StayAtHome and stay safe’ is not a viable option and, for some, even a contradiction.

“The exhibition Queering Spaces coincides with the Socially Engaged Art Salon (Brighton)‘s recent winning of the LGBTQ Safe Space International Award.

“The exhibition focuses on significant places and moments for the LGBTQ community in the UK and abroad; from the first Pride in 1973 in Los Angeles, captured by the renowned photographer Cathy Cade to the squatting and club scene in London and New York’s drag balls in the 80s.

“It explores the spaces that give support to people living with HIV, and the struggles of LGBT communities in the townships of South Africa and in other countries where homosexuality is still illegal.

“It also looks at the spaces used for hook-ups between strangers from a toilet in a small town in New Zealand to Brighton’s Duke Mound’s Beach. The stories of these places and the people who make them are told through film, photography, installations and socially engaged practices that amplify the voices of those that are often unheard.”

Charlotte added: “Queering Spaces celebrates LGBTQ+ History Month and is the first of SEAS’ exhibitions in the up-and-coming Brighton LGBTQAI+ venue, The Ledward Centre (TLC). The centre is named after the late editor of Gscene (now Scene), James Ledward. As the centre is being configured in a disused 2000-metre square shop, SEAS has invited, as part of the exhibition, Brighton’s Queer History Now collective to imagine what this space could become.

“Part of the exhibition will be presented in the TLC windows and the whole exhibition can be viewed online on SEAS’ website (www.seasbrighton.org).”

Curator Gil Mualem-Doron explains the exhibition’s name: “In fact, Queer Space does not exist. We are always only queering spaces. Throughout history, we have transformed places that were not created for us into spaces where we can be who we are. The ones who have always led these transformations, historically and now, have been indeed the queers, the outcasts, the marginalized… this exhibition is dedicated to them. The Ledward Centre, I believe, is going to continue this tradition”.

Duncan Lustig-Prean, Centre director, added: “The arts have a long history of highlighting injustice and the need for social change. Our collaboration with SEAS is really thrilling, bringing the visual arts to the Ledward Centre and helping with our ambition to promote the astounding contribution LGBTQ+ arts and culture make to our city and beyond.”

The Ledward Centre: https://ledcen.org.uk/