Queer PHOTO: A celebration of diversity and art
February 14, 2024

Queer PHOTO: A celebration of diversity and art

Jake Elwes, from the series The Zizi Show, Queer PHOTO Installation view. Photographer Matto Lucas.

Media Release

Indoor and outdoor exhibitions, talks, tours and panel discussions

Footscray Community Arts presents the largest array of works from Queer PHOTO exhibitions 
On now until 24 March 

From now until 24 March 2024, Footscray Community Arts presents the largest array of works from the inaugural Queer PHOTO exhibitions, featuring three world premieres and two Australian premieres with artists from Australia, UK, and USA.

Presented by Midsumma and PHOTO 2024, in partnership with Creative Victoria’s Go West program, Queer PHOTO is a first of its kind collaboration – comprising artist commissions of large-scale outdoor artworks, gallery exhibitions and an interactive public program by local and international artists taking place across Melbourne’s west. Queer PHOTO will transform iconic venues and the streets of the West into a gallery of accessible and highly visible visual artworks from LGBTQIA+ artists.

Clifford Prince King, from the series Orange Grove, Queer PHOTO Installation view.
Photographer Matto Lucas.

“Indigenous, Black identity and People of Colour have always been at the heart of queer activism and culture,” says Daniel Santangeli, Artistic Director of Footscray Community Arts. “Queer Photo is an act of re-enculturation – re-centering and celebrating visual artists who are continuing to shape LGBTQIA+ culture here and internationally.” Exquisite Corpse by internationally acclaimed Salote Tawale (world premiere) is an official exhibition of PHOTO 2024 and Queer PHOTO on display in the Roslyn Smorgon Gallery, as well as activated outdoors at Footscray Community Arts until 26 May. Tawale’s large-scale immersive installation is a site specific development and includes photographic images, sculptural elements and video work. It delves into Salote’s Australian-Fijian heritage and Indigenous knowledge, celebrating reinvented artistry and cultural intersections through a collage of layered narratives.

Marungka Tjalatjunu/Dipped in Black is a collaborative film and photographic project made by filmmaker Matthew Thorne (Australia) and Yankunytjatjara artist/dancer, Derik Lynch (Australia). Lynch escapes the oppressive white city life of Adelaide, taking a road trip back to Country (Aptula), his remote Anangu community where he seeks spiritual healing and performs on sacred Inma ground. The film has won multiple awards, including Silver Bear Jury Prize at Berlinale, Germany (2023), and Best Short Documentary, MIFF (2023).  

Matthew Thorne and Derik Lynch, from the installation Marungka Tjalatjunu/Dipped in Black, Queer PHOTO Installation view. Photographer Matto Lucas.

Experience the exhibition as an immersive 4-channel video installation. This exclusive and captivating addition to the full exhibition has a limited run – open now and closing Sunday February 11. The installation features powerful imagery and costumes from the film, which follows Yankunytjatjara man Derik Lynch’s transformative journey back to Country for spiritual healing.

African American photographer, Clifford Prince King (USA) is a self-taught artist based in New York and Los Angeles. In his celebration of queer black joy, King documents his intimate relationships in traditional, everyday settings that speak on his experiences. His monograph, Orange Grove, (Australian premiere) featured as the Queer PHOTO hero image, is dark and handsome, filled with King’s warm and intricate portraits that flow like tapestries, while witnessing lovers and friends in the ether of vulnerability. The exhibition is in the Gabriel Gallery from 3 February to 26 May. King’s documentary, Kiss of Life, will be screened on Sunday 3 March where he will be in discussing his work. 

Jake Elwes (UK) is a UK media artist who explores poetry and biases in machine learning and artificial intelligence systems. In an Australian premiere, Elwes’ The Zizi Show explores the intersection of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and drag performance. Drag challenges gender and explores otherness, while AI is often mystified as a concept and tool and is complicit in reproducing social bias. Currently showing at V&A in London, Elwes will be visiting during the festival to discuss AI and Photography at an Artists Talk on Saturday 10 Feb, 11am – 12pm.

Jake Elwes, from the series The Zizi Show, Queer PHOTO Installation view.
Photographer Matto Lucas.

Black & Blur (World premiere) by Lilah Benetti (Australia) is a new commission, featuring portraits of migrant and Indigenous people. Benetti’s work recognises that Blackness is a mosaic of cultural, ethnic, and global Indigenous backgrounds, shaped and coloured by the unique contexts from which we emerge. Benetti is a recipient of the Wyndham Art Prize.

Lilah Benetti, from the series Black and Blur, Queer PHOTO Installation view.
Photographer Matto Lucas.

Daniel Jack Lyons (US) is an American artist and anthropologist whose work focuses largely on marginalized youth, whether occupying spaces on the periphery of society or in the face of conflict. Like A River (Australian premiere) explores how deep Indigenous traditions and modern identity politics meet in a celebratory, safe space, through a series of portrait photographs that visualise and empower the trans and queer communities living in the Amazon. Made in collaboration with Casa do Rio, a community-based organisation supporting the cultural lives of teenagers and young people living in the Amazon Rainforest.

Daniel Jack Lyons, from the series Like A River, 2019. Courtesy the artist.

Aotearoa-based queer Polynesian arts collective FAFSWAG (NZ) meet at the intersections of cultural archive practices, digital technology and queer Indigenous storytelling.  Their exhibition, Alteration, which is presented outdoors at Footscray Community Arts and indoor at The Substation, seeks to break down predictable fixed colonial narratives by contemplating ancestry and legacy, reclaiming stolen narratives, speculating fictional futures, and redefining the cultural image of queer Pacific bodies living on stolen land.  

FAFSWAG, from the series Alteration, 2019. Queer PHOTO Installation view. Alteration is exhibiting at both the Substation and Footscray Community Arts until 28 March.
Photographer Matto Lucas.

PHOTO Australia (PHOTO 2024 and Queer PHOTO) was founded in 2018 to launch a major new photography biennale in Melbourne and sites across regional Victoria. Taking place every two years, the festival addresses the major issues of our time in a program of free exhibitions, outdoor displays and artist commissions across the city, as well as awards, talks, workshops, tours and experiences. Presenting ideas critical to contemporary photographic discourse, PHOTO encourages the public to engage with and think about photography and visual culture in new and inspiring ways.

FREE Queer PHOTO Events at Footscray Community Arts:

An Artsy Queer Bus Ride Tour
4 February 2024, 1pm—4pm
Join 2joocee for the queer, arty bus ride of your dreams!

Lilah Benetti Artist Talk
10 February 2024, 1pm—2pm
Join artist Lilah Benetti in-conversation about their premiere exhibition, ‘Black and Blur’.

Footscray Precinct Tour
10 February 2024, 11am—12pm
Journey through all Queer PHOTO Exhibitions with curator Brendan McCleary.

Pet Portraits with Elvin Lam
2 March 2024, 15min intervals
What cuter way to celebrate your love for your pet than with a photoshoot.

Film Screening and Q&A with Clifford Prince King (USA)
3 March 2024, 1—2:30pm
Open discussion with Clifford Prince King following an exclusive screening of two of their short films.

Workshop: Cyanotype Photography with Isabella Capezio
10 March 2024, 1—4pm
Artist and RMIT Lecturer, Isabella Capezio, is your teacher for this hands-on photography workshop!

Navigating A Male Dominated Industry Photography Panel
10 March 2024, 11am—12pm
Join Photographers Alexis Desaulniers-Lea, Kira Piru, Isabella Capezio and Jacinta Keefe for a discussion on life as a photographer.

Daniel Jack Lyons (USA) Artist Talk
16 March 2024, 11am—12pm
Hear from Daniel Jack Lyons as he discusses his work and photographic practice.

Queer Photo Exhibition
Various galleries and outdoor spaces across Footscray Community Arts
On now until  24 March 2024

PHOTO 2024 Exhibition
Roslyn Smorgon Gallery and outdoors at Footscray Community Arts On now until 26 May 2024

MEDIA ENQUIRIES: Michaela Hall  – 0419 113 633 / michaela.hall@bigpond.com

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