The exhibition, which coincides with SEAS recently winning the LGBTQ Safe Space International Award, 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 1980s.
The exhibition also explores the spaces that give support to people living with HIV, and the struggles of LGBTQ+ communities in the townships of South Africa and in other countries where homosexuality is still illegal. It also looks at the spaces used for hookups between strangers, from a toilet in a small town in New Zealand to Brighton’s Duke’s Mound. 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.
Queering Spaces is the first of SEAS’ exhibitions in the up-and-coming Brighton LGBTQ+ venue, The Ledward Centre, which is named after the late editor of Gscene (now Scene), James Ledward. As the centre is being configured in a disused 2,000 metre square shop, SEAS has invited, as part of the exhibition, Brighton’s Queer History Now collective to imagine what this space could become.
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 marginalised… this exhibition is dedicated to them. The Ledward Centre, I believe, is going to continue this tradition.”
Commenting on the collaboration between The Ledward Centre and SEAS, Duncan Lustig-Prean, Centre Director commented: “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 opening event for the exhibition will be on Saturday, February 13 at 5pm, and will include the following speakers: Anthony Luvera, Hussina Raja, Queer History Now collective and Gil Mualem-Doron, as well as presentations and Q&A. More artists and writers will be featured in the Tough Cookie / SEAS zine that will be published later in February. Tickets are FREE and can be booked by clicking here.