Curator Sadie Lee about 'In Your Face'
2017 marks the 50 year anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexual acts by men in private in England and Wales (the Sexual Offences Act).
Although consenting acts of love between men are no longer punishable by law in the UK, equality still has a way to go and incidents of hate crimes, attacks, bullying and abuse against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex+ people in this country and around the world are all too regular an occurrence.
Exhibitions and events can highlight inequalities and help educate and inform beyond the communities they represent, through shared lived experiences. By supporting and celebrating diversity in all its forms in municipal spaces and galleries we are ensuring that we progress towards a society which is inclusive and doesn’t exclude or fear difference, but values every member and respects the rights of everyone equally.
In Your Face is a group show by contemporary artists who identify as LGBTQI+ who have used their work to explore sexuality and gender identity.
The work is autobiographical, although this may not always be immediately apparent, prompting us to question the notion of what a ‘self portrait’ essentially is. Each artist offers us a fascinating insight into how they view and present themselves, on their own terms.
Sexuality is present in all pieces; in some intimate, subtle or private, others overt and political. But the sexual orientation of the artist is merely one element of a multi-faceted collection of approaches to depicting the self. The exhibition brings together established and emerging artists, drawing from a range of disciplines illustrating the complexity and variety of contemporary practice.
What do we know of a person by looking at their face? The exhibition title might suggest that in declaring their sexuality, these artists are pushing their Queerness ‘in your face’. In doing so, perhaps they are asking the viewer to face up to the question: is it right that some people are more equal than others?
Curator and exhibitor
In Your Face: Queer Artists' Versions of Themselves opens on Saturday 23 September.
Image: Annie Attridge 'Inside Out No 3'