The Victorian Pride Centre – Australia’s first purpose-built community hub for LGBTQI+ people – is home to a huge number of organisations and spaces for the queer community and their allies, including the brand new Pride Gallery. Set to be a space for artworks by LGBTQI+ artists that will often focus on LGBTQI+ themes and issues, the gallery currently has two free exhibitions on display to give you a taste of what they’re all about.
The first of these exhibitions is identity, adornment, transformation, which explores these major themes through ‘a LGBTIQ+ Indigenous contemporary lens’. Curated by Mish Eisen, the exhibition showcases works by Jenna Lee, Clint Lingard, Paul McCann, Dylan Mooney, and Peter Waples-Crowe, all Indigenous LGBTQI+ artists, and features a huge range of media, from watercolour to costume and even prints of poetry. identity, adornment, and transformation was originally scheduled to finish in November, but the closure of the Pride Centre over the most recent lockdowns means it has been extended until late January.
The works [are] looking to question what happens when objects, culture, identity and sexuality have multiple overlapping labels causing [a] confusion of grey areas where we as individuals struggle to make sense of self in a dominant binary system.
Just across the corridor is the history-based exhibition Queer-ways: Retracing Melbourne’s Queer Footprint. Multidisciplinary artists LUCIANO and Georgia Keats have spent the last year collecting stories from queer Melbournians as well as material from the Australian Queer Archives to create five maps illustrated with these ‘queer experiences, locations of significance, and memories’. Resembling pages from the quintessentially-Melbourne Melways directories on their own, the maps become an interactive display through your phone, bringing the sketches to life with augmented reality and playing voiceovers that enrich the stories with more detail.
[I]t’s always important to further the narrative and create more diverse engagement with our shared history. The Queer-ways illustrative augmented reality maps enable this engagement and open up [our] city’s queer history to a wider audience.
The Pride Gallery is a unique space built specifically to allow the artistic voices of queer people to shine through, and these two exhibitions are the perfect introduction. Both identity, adornment, transformation and Queer-ways are on display until late January 2022 – and with the Pride Gallery open every day of the week, there are plenty of opportunities to fit in a visit over summer!
To get more ideas about which galleries to visit this holiday season, check out our guide to what Melbourne’s best cultural sites are up to post-lockdown.