Russ Flatt, Go Fund Me, 2019. Inkjet photograph on Ilford Cotton Rag, edition of 3 + 1AP, 101.6 x 101.6cm. Courtesy: the artist and Tim Melville Gallery, Auckland.
As part of the 2019 Artweek Auckland programme, Tim Melville Gallery presents a suite of seven new photographs by Russ Flatt. At a time when one-in-five young LGBTQI+ New Zealanders has attempted suicide, and when many Māori and Pacific religious leaders appear to be promoting homophobic messages, Flatt explores the fractured relationship between LGBTQI+ culture and evangelical Christianity.
Recently, Australian rugby player Israel Folau felt compelled to preach homophobia on his social media platforms. Similarly, New Zealand netball player Maria Folau’s support for her husband’s views resulted in public outrage and division on both sides of the Tasman. At the same time, Brian Tamaki’s apology to the LGBTQI+ community for decades of homophobic preaching – seemingly timed to coincide with the launch of a political party – was undermined by his subsequent denial of the existence of Trans men and women. Hell Bent is Flatt’s response to contemporary events. This is his fifth solo show with Tim Melville.
Exhibition opens: 6–8pm Tuesday 15 October 2019