Words: Erin Irwin
As part of Midsumma Festival and PHOTO 2024 International Festival of Photography, west Melbourne will see Queer PHOTO take up residence until 24 March. The project will feature transformative works that showcase the practices of LGBTQIA+ artists from across Australia and abroad, with 7 locations hosting 17 artists, 14 exhibitions and 30 interactive events.
Highlights include a new commission by Lilah Benetti, with Black & Blur embracing the diversity of the Blackness through portraiture, as well as a film and photographic project by Matthew Thorne and Yankunytjatjara artist/dancer Derik Lynch. Salote Tawale will be exhibiting Exquisite Corpse, which considers her Australian/Fijian ancestry, while Leilani Fuimaono’s So’otaga (Connection), made collaboratively with Pasifika community based in the West, asks pertinent questions about grief and belonging. Also not to be missed is Peter Waples-Crowe’s Affirm, which is based on the artist’s experience as a community health worker within Aboriginal and LGBTQIA2+ communities.
Several international artists will also be represented, such as works by Ukrainian artist Vic Bakin, whose TBWWWTB (To Be What We Want To Be) celebrates queer expression. British artist Jake Elwes’ The Zizi Show combines Artificial Intelligence with drag performance, while work by US artist Daniel Jack Lyons will also make an appearance, with his Like A River celebrating trans and queer communities living in the Amazon.
Alongside these works and those of many other accomplished artists will be a program of talks, film screenings, workshops and tours.
Midsumma CEO Karen Bryant says that “We at Midsumma are very excited to have initiated this exciting new project, our first ever Queer PHOTO Festival program, taking over Melbourne’s West with bold public art”, describing the display as “an exciting programming line-up that represents the very best in queer photography, whilst ensuring an accessible program with something for everyone”.
Brendan McCleary, PHOTO 2024’s curator, says of the of the selected works that they each in their own way us[e] queer thinking to consider potential scenarios that lie ahead, and how current actions and activisms are creating future realities – from advances in technology, through to responding to climate crisis, and connecting with Indigenous ways of thinking.”
“There is a beautiful community found within these works”, says McCleary, “highlighting the incredible ways in which queer voices are shaping a better tomorrow.”
For more information on Queer Photo, visit the website here.
This article was posted 8 February 2024.
Image: Daniel Jack Lyons, Like A River, Queer PHOTO, installation view. Photo: Will Hamilton-Coates. Courtesy: the artist, Midsumma Festival and PHOTO 2024.