AJAMU FIERCE: TORONTO
Fierce: Toronto is a series of portraits of Black Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Queer individuals who are also artists, activists, cultural producers, DJ’s, academics and others from all walks of life living and working in Toronto. The history, experience and achievements of Black LGBTQ people living and working in Toronto do not appear in their rightful place in records of our lives, history books, film, mainstream and popular culture – and most importantly, they are often not seen through a lens of aspiration and celebration.
White and Black, heterosexual and queer, history and culture alike deny or avoid the essence of the Black LGBTQ experience in Toronto. Young people, generation after generation, must repeat the isolated journey of their elders to find the core of their heritage and the rich contributions made by others before them.
Fierce: Toronto is a landmark testament to the contribution and influence of black LGBTQ artists, activists, pioneers, movers and shakers across the generations to the social, cultural and political histories of Toronto.
Fierce: Toronto was produced as part of Ajamu’s multi-city residency with ArtsEverywhere/Musagetes in 2017–2018. The residency gave shape to the concept of the photographic ‘Pop-Up’ studio as the portraits and interviews were made in hotel rooms, nightclubs and other spaces. The Fierce series includes portraits made during visits to other cities including São Paolo, London, New York, Amsterdam, and Quito.
Ajamu is a fine art photographic artist and archives curator whose work has been shown in galleries, museums and alternative spaces nationally and internationally. His work has been published in a wide variety of publications and critical journals. He studied at the Jan van Eyck Akademie in Maastricht, The Netherlands and is currently a PhD researcher at Royal College of Art, London.
CAMILLE BACK & CELINE DROUIN LAROCHE SOMETHING TO DO WITH THE DARK
Something to do with the dark follows a research stay we did in Texas and California in May 2018 during which we investigated Gloria Anzaldúa’s archives in Austin and Santa Cruz, conducted a series of filmed interviews with some of her intimate friends and comrades in writing, collected images and sound between Hargill, Austin, San Antonio, Los Angeles, Santa Cruz and San Francisco.
Although she is hardly ever credited for it, Chicana lesbian activist, creative writer and theorist Gloria Anzaldúa [1942, Raymondville/Texas – 2004, Santa Cruz/California] was one of the first [if not the first one] to use the term queer in an academic context. She was involved in the elaboration of Chicana, queer and decolonial feminist theories, and contributed to introducing border and mestizaje theories in the US, fostering bridge building across the different communities she was a part of.
The video we would like to show for ‘Queering Memory’ resorts to archival materials [papers, photographs, visual productions, oral histories …] and revolves around a soundscape where we intertwine fragments of both pub-lished and unpublished texts, where we intertwine our voices with those of her friends. It’s also an attempt for us, as an artist, an academic, and as lovers, to confront and cross our practices and perspectives on Anzaldúa’s work. A plastic and sensory work around Gloria Anzaldúa’s figure, her journey, her creative process but also the concepts and poetic images she developed. Something to do with the dark mixes and weaves different regimes of images and narrations. The aim is to go beyond the documentary status of the images, through editing and an experimental soundtrack, in order to switch to fiction and to an experiment aimed at altering our perspectives and our perceptions, just as Anzaldúa’s autohistorias-teorías intended to.
Camille Back is a French PhD student in Hispanic studies and is currently doing a research on Gloria Anzalduá’s work, Chicana queer feminism and the emergence of queer theory. As a lesbian feminist and white queer from Italian working-class immigration background, she seeks to propose a critical analysis of white queer theories and some of their paradigms, highlighting the formative role of Anzaldúa whose contributions to the elaboration of these theories [as well as that of many other queers of color] have been erased from current genealogies. Celine Drouin Laroche is a transdisciplinary artist based in Montreuil [Ile de France]: I develop filmic, performative and photographic installations related to issues of [de]colonization, community building and queer feminist thoughts. My work is an intimate exploration of politics, driven by notions of narration of the self and the world. I design projects in which I seek to meet individuals or groups, thus questioning their identities, their imaginations, their knowledge, their practices and the places they live in. A critical approach underlies my work, especially in my relationship to temporalities and spaces that I choose to bring together, between realism and speculation, documentary and fiction.
HANS BERGEMANN & RALF DOSE MAGNUS HIRSCHFELD’S FRENCH EXILE GUESTBOOK – INTRODUCTION TO AN EXHIBIT
In 2018, the Magnus-Hirschfeld-Gesellschaft presented a travelling exhibit with excerpts from the guest book Magnus Hirschfeld kept during his exile in France, 1933–1935. The guest book is now part of the collections of the Deutsches Literaturarchiv in Marbach. For many years, Marita Keilson-Lauritz conducted detailed research on the many and prominent contributors to this guest book; recently, she asked the Magnus-Hirschfeld-Gesellschaft to continue with this project and to finish it. We are the editors of a complete annotated edition of the guest book, which is planned to be launched in June, 2019. Though the book will be only in German [with many entries in foreign languages], the exhibit provides working translations of all texts in English and French.
Hans Bergemann M.A. is a historian and exhibit curator and Ralf Dose is an independent researcher, co-founder and director of the Magnus-Hirschfeld-Gesellschaft e.V., Berlin.
BERLIN – YOGYAKARTA:
FROM HITLER’S TERROR AGAINST HOMOSEXUALS TO HUMAN RIGHTS TODAY
The poster exhibition of the Polish Campaign Against Homophobia makes space for exploration and processing, by exposing the acts of Hitler’s regime that live on in our collective memories as the tragedy of humanity, and displaying the crimes committed against sexual minorities. Besides personal experiences, we can also see current international documents, like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Yogyakarta Principles, which declare international norms of applying basic human rights to sexual orientation and gender identity.
Katarzyna Remin has been active in the largest Polish LGBTI organisation Kampania Przeciw Homofobii [Campaign against Homophobia, KPH] since 2009. Since 2012 she is responsible for the public relations of KPH. The recent campaign, co-organised by Katarzyna Remin under the slogan ‘Let’s give the sign of peace,’ has mobilised prominent Catholics to work for equality between gays and lesbians within their faith community.
NOEMI BESEDES & KATI HOLLAND JEWISH LGBT+ COMMUNITIES IN LONDON
These posters form part of an exhibition that opened in Budapest on 7 July 2017 at Kelet Kávézó, Bartók Béla út, during Budapest Pride festival. They were made based on our visit to the Jewish LGBT+ community in London during May, 2017 to illustrate some aspects of the Jewish religion concerning attitudes towards sexuality. During our meetings in London we learned about the Keshet UK’s community work, the European Union of Jewish Students’ related activities on the given topic, and the wide range of action all over the world undertaken by IGLYO [International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer&Intersex Youth and Student Organisation]. In the exhibition we show portrait photos of the members of the different associations and NGOs, along with personal interviews. The project was supported by EUJS – European Union of Jewish Students, Hillel Hungary – Magyarország, Keshet UK and Budapest Pride. Further contributors were IGLYO, UJS – Union of Jewish Students and photographer Eve Singer of Philadelphia, USA.
MAOYI & TRUDE SUNDBERG QUEER SHAPE
Queer shape is a multidiscipline collective art making project which has taken place over a 20 month long making process. The project challenges, breaks down and creates new ways of seeing, living and making queer shapes and expressing them through voice, writing, drawing and digital expressions. Materials are taken from a series life drawing sessions and writing workshops through collecting, translating, digitalising and universalising into pieces of drawings, texts and videos. It is currently in a phase of being translated into a published artistbook. This presentation will be presented as a video, a living archive and memory of the project. Queer Shape starts with the a group of artists, performers and expressers who are taking the discussion of queer body – their beauty, gender, sexualities and desire – a step further, beyond mere discussions, into an act of performing queerness, image making and writing. Life drawing, the first tool used in the project has a long history and through it we translate the idea and concept into posts, ways of dressing and body interacting, to unpack, reclaim and recreate, share and reshape new futures, new desires, new ways of seeing each other, of living gender and being sexual beings. The next step reframe the story through the agency of writing, opening up a stage to write the images from the viewpoint of a queer eye, reflecting each unique individuals’ experience and history. Queer shape is a space that allows and explores messines and vulnerabilities, questioning our own perceptions and behaviors, and decentralises heteronormative thinking and storytelling. It is an archive of the making process of bringing together queer people, challenging ourselves and have fun.
Q-space [Beijing] is a grassroots, non-profit, community maker space who believe that embracing diversity is the key to solving social issues. We focus particularly on the empowerment of women and the LGBTQ+ populations. We believe that radical inclusion is key for radical change, and welcome anyone to be part of our community without any need to label themselves.
Maoyi is an artist, designer, activist and Co-founder of Q-space, who works and lives in Beijing. Trude Sundberg is Co-founder of Q-space and Lecturer in Social Policy at the University of Kent’s School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research since 2012.
MOHAMMAD ROFIQUL ISLAM/ROYAL EXCHANGE LEARNING:
HOW THE LENS CAN ASSIST ARTISTS PREVENTING DISCRIMINATION
The focus of this exhibition was the background story of each photograph, including the photographer’s biography and the exhibition concept itself. Contrary to the claims of many in Bangladesh, gender diverse people are not a threat to the Bangladeshi constitution. Due to widespread social and religious values that increase stigma and discrimination against SOGI [sexual orientation and gender diverse] people, queers are uncomfortable with photographers outside the community, fearing negative and inaccurate representation. By contrast, if approached by a photographer within the queer community who shows an interest in documenting their life, the smiles come out and queer people are happy to talk about their daily experiences. ‘Youth Yearn’ is the first ever queer photographic exhibition and represents each group of the diverse Bangladeshi queer community: PLHIV, elders and people from a wide range of rural, urban, class, religious, health and ethnic backgrounds, including Indigenous people. Over five days the exhibition travelled around numerous districts in several cities, hosted by public venues. It was attended by 4230 visitors, many of whom left positive comments and critiques, and involved numerous stakeholders including government representatives, ambassadors, media, Islamic students and so on. The exhibition is held in conjunction with a workshop: participants learn how to use photographs, launch activist campaigns and how to reduce stigma and discrimination through the lens. This is an innovative and cost-effective method of activism for countries with strict religious conventions and limited resources. Taking this exhibition abroad will hopefully have the effect of bringing knowledge of the Bangladeshi queer community to a global audience and build regional and international networks. I hope that by bringing my exhibition to ALMS 2019, I can participate in an exchange of knowledge and learn from other activists using innovative art processes to document queer life.
Mohammad Rofiqul Islam, or Royal, has worked for the past 22 years with a community organisation and is currently developing a project called ‘Artivism and Sexuality’. Royal has abundant experience in international health and human rights work, dance performances, photographic exhibitions and presentations in Schengen countries, Australia, the UK, Ireland and several Asian countries. He is a member of Global MINT Forum, IASSCS, SAHRA, International AIDS Society, GLISA in the Asia Pacific and is a Fellow of the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum.
ORLA EGAN THE QUEER REPUBLIC OF CORK EXHIBITION
The Queer Republic of Cork exhibition was first opened in the Camden Palace community arts centre in Cork on 25 August 2016, organised and curated by Orla Egan, Cork LGBT Archive, as part of the Irish Heritage Week. The exhibition takes visitors on a journey through the development of the Cork Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender communities from the 1970s onwards. Cork has a long and rich history of LGBT activism, community formation and development. Since at least the 1970s LGBT people in Cork have forged communities, established organisations, set up services and reached out to others. Like many other LGBT communities worldwide, this community has been largely invisible in historical accounts and its contribution to social and political change and developments remained largely unacknowledged. The exhibition highlights key moments, organisations, campaigns and triumphs in the history of the Cork LGBT Community and showcases some of Cork’s firsts – the first National Gay Conference , the first Irish AIDS leaflet , the first Irish Lesbian and Gay Festival  and the first LGBT float in a Patrick’s Day Parade . The exhibition is complemented by a paper presentation. Orla Egan has been actively involved with the Cork LGBT community since the 1980s. She created the Cork LGBT Archive and continues to develop the archive on a voluntary basis. She is the author of Queer Republic of Cork: Cork’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Communities 1970s–1990s. Orla has delivered papers and workshops on the Cork LGBT Archive throughout Ireland, in the UK, New York and Budapest. The Queer Republic of Cork Exhibition has been displayed in various venues in Cork and Belfast. In 2016 Orla received a Hidden Heritage Award from the Irish Heritage Council.
SARY ZANANIRI FRANK SCHOLTEN PHOTOGRAPHING PALESTINE:
SELECTED IMAGES OF HOMOSOCIAL SPACES
In 1920 Dutchman, homosexual and amateur photographer Frank Scholten left the Netherlands on a pilgrimage to Palestine. He arrived in 1921 leaving at the end of 1923, witnessing the establishment of the British Mandate after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Armed with a camera and library of 6,000 books, he planned to produce a definitive illustrated bible totalling twelve-volumes. Two volumes were published during his life, and synthesised Christian, Muslim and Jewish holy texts alongside secular histories. Approximately 25,000 photographs [mostly of Palestine] and copious working notes referencing texts against images are now held in the Nederlands Institut voor het Nabije Oosten [NINO]. This selection of photographs and clippings focuses on the homosocial spaces that Scholten documented in Palestine, as well as some of the more ‘queer’ classical works that influenced his photographic practice. This exhibition is complemented by a paper presentation.
Sary Zananiri is an Australian-Palestinian artist and cultural historian. His current research considers the imaging of masculinity in the Middle East and the ways in which transnational Christian-Orthodox relations between the Arab world, Russia and Greece form an intersticial space between categories of ‘east’ and ‘west’. He was co-director of the Palestinian Film Festival Australia from 2014–16 and Associate Lecturer at the Monash Fine Art department from 2014–2018. He is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow on the NWO funded project CrossRoads: European Cultural Diplomacy and Arab Christians in Palestine 1918–1948 at Leiden University.
TEXAS & GLORY LESBIAN MATTERS
This mini-exhibition reproduces some impressions of our contribution to the exhibition ‘lesbian matters’, on display this year in Brooklyn, New York at Trestle Gallery as part of the Bric Biennial. After the exhibition, the items will be housed permanently at the Lesbian Herstory Archives. Brooklyn-based artist Phoenix Lindsey-Hall, the curator, has collected objects, stories, and personal artefacts that mark lesbian life. Our contribution are pictures of our activism during the Cologne Pride in 2018. The exhibition is a collective snapshot reflecting contemporary lesbian objecthood, exploring personal and material effects that are collected through our lives. These personal collections of postcards, trinkets, letters, photographs, and buttons serve as reminders of life’s queer moments. What are the objects that make up your life? Our magic moment was to carry a coffin at the front of Cologne Pride parade, with thousands of participants nearly one million spectators.
texas & glory is an artist duo defining themselves as feminist art punks. Their main interests are sexuality, gender identity and lgbttiq* life from a queer feminist perspective. Amongst other media, they express their ideas through videos, photographs and graphic novels.
IRÈNE MÉLIX LAVENDER SONGS [BOOK AND AUDIOPIECE]
… Women’s Club Violetta. Staged in the Magic Flute, Kommandantenstr. 72, evening of entertainment this Wednesday, free entry for girls …This Sunday Ladies’ Ball with cream-puff eating competition. Club management kindly asks for your ample attendance. Lotte Hahm. Entry for ladies only! … Clubbing on a gay night turns into a glittering party. Among the guests are Olga Rado, Mette, Eri and many other book favourites. The ladies* nestle around the tables, smoking cigarettes, the authors order one beer after another at the bar, while Fräulein Dr. Südekum keeps to her corner, trying not to stick out. A boisterous, familiar air fills the room and chat-ups are whirring around. No-one seems to notice the lone scorpion that climbs up the wall behind the counter … This is where the women* who love women* meet to flirt, kiss and whisper sweetly to one another, to talk, dance and write lesbian herstory …
Lavender songs is an audiopiece based on my ongoing research in LGBTIQ archives, such as Spinnboden Archiv Berlin, Fond Chomarat Lyon and the archives lesbiennes in Paris. Focusing first on novels of the 1920s in Berlin, I came to research the construction of lesbian identities; of the symbols and codes in French newspapers of the 1980s, in photographs and in Polish lonely heart ads from contemporary dating platforms. What do Olga Rado [The Scorpion, 1919], myself and the Polish trans*woman searching for company on Okcupid have in common? What is a meeting of Dr. Fräulein Südekum [Der wilde Garten, 1927] and French activists from the 1980s in Lyon like? And what if we all met in a lesbian bar … somewhere …? The audiopiece in the English version has so far only been shown once in public, at Petrohradska Gallery in Prague [December 2018]. I would like to offer a listening session of the German and English versions at the Queering Memory conference in Berlin. Accompanying this with a discussion will give me the opportunity to speak more about my research and to introduce Mette, Olga, Alexandra and many others personally.
Irène Mélix studied Cultural Sciences in Hildesheim and Paris, and Fine Arts in Dresden and Krakòw. With her conceptual approach, she works at the points where social and aesthetic issues overlap. Historical, socio-political, gender-specific and literary research topics are starting points for her artistic practice. Events, curatorial work and publications are part of her work. She has been researching the construction of lesbian identities in archives in France and Germany, organising lectures on historical novels and researching the symbols and codes of lesbian milieus. She is part of the artist duo team2. She is artist-in-residence in Lyon and works in Dresden.
Saturday, 29.6.2019, 11:30–13:00
ROSE COLLIS FORTY YEARS OUT [AND COUNTING]: AN ILLUSTRATED PAPER BY ROSE COLLIS
During my four decades as an out and proud lesbian writer, performer and activist I have witnessed, participated in and chronicled many key events in LGBT history that had national and international resonances, including early street marches, Gay’s the Word bookshop’s battle with HM Customs, the release of ground-breaking documentary Framed Youth, the AIDS crisis, battles against Section 28, and for four years I was the first lesbian co-editor of the ‘Out in the City’ section of City Limits – the only UK journalist hired specifically to cover lesbian culture and politics. This rich history forms the basis of my entertaining and informative new solo mixed media stage show. Forty Years Out will re-visit, reflect and re-enact some key events – songs, slogans, sit-downs, sorrows and solidarity. This artistic work will be the cornerstone of a multi-media project created and delivered in partnerships with museums, archives, libraries and other venues. It will comprise online/physical exhibitions and public engagement events throughout the UK and elsewhere from summer 2019 onwards. It will feature first-hand anecdotes, cuttings, photos, artefacts and ephemera from my substantial private archive that reflects and chronicles more than four decades of a community’s evolution. At the ALMS conference I will present a ‘taster’ for this project and offer rare insights into how an artist approaches drawing on archive material to create new stage work.
Rose Collis is a UK-based critically acclaimed performer, author, playwright, singer, musician, historian, producer, workshop leader and journalist. She has written, edited and contributed to 17 books and, since 2012, has garnered a national and international reputation as a stage artist who writes, performs and produces high quality work and related public engagement events that emphasise the real stories of overlooked LGBT/female figures. This has been achieved without the support of any mainstream theatre venues or producers; any regular income or guaranteed funding, or commercial sponsorship. Public talks and lectures have included sell-out events at the V&A, London Metropolitan Archives, Lesbian Lives Conference, Bishopsgate Institute, Royal National Theatre, National Film Theatre and National Portrait Gallery. She is an elected member of Equity’s national LGBT+ Equalities Committee until June 2019.
Fiday 28.6.2019, 14:30–16:00
CARNE [FLESH] JULIANA STREVA, BRAZIL/GERMANY, 2019, 4:23 MINS.
Crossing the borders of berlin to brazil, carne is an audiovisual denounce of the political extermination committed against black, indigenous, women and LGBTQ+ people during the presidential elections for jair bolsonaro in brazil, 2018. The videoart is a corporeal scream for self-care, resistance and articulation.
Thursday 27.6.2019, 13:00–14:30
KATHA VACHAK [STORYTELLER] DEEPAK SRINIVASAN, INDIA, 2019, 23 MINS
Harihar is a common male Indian name. ‘Hari-Hara’ is a composite Sanskrit term meaning a coming together of Shiva-Vishnu’s energies, Shiva and Vishnu being two male gods. In the film, a young man, Harihar, gets dragged to an event by his mother where he finds a storyteller, telling the story of god, Shiva’s conflict with a demon who gains a powerful boon from the god that backfires. As the popular mythical story goes, god Shiva is saved from the demon by the helpful intervention of a trickster male god, Vishnu. The South-Indian version of the story goes on further to narrate the resulting romance of the two gods and the birth of their offspring, the god Ayappa [also named Hari-Hara]. As Harihar listens to the story, repressed adolescent desires surface as he finds an affirmative voice within his tradition and cultural milieu, which [he previously may have felt] had shunned him. He comes to terms with his own self and comes out regarding his sexuality. Friday 28.6.2019, 14:30–16:00
SAN DIEGO’S GAY BAR HISTORY PAUL DETWILER, USA, 2018, 56 MINS.
The film traces the development of the gay bar as a community institution in San Diego, from post-WWII to the present. Since 1945, no less than 135 gay bars have operated in San Diego, and provided sanctuary for GLBT people to discover themselves and form community. These institutions have played an integral role in creating spaces for building friendships and for fostering activism, as well as serving as spaces for both grieving and celebration. San Diego’s Gay Bar History examines the roles bars have played across four major time periods: after WWII until the birth of the modern gay rights movement in 1969; during the 1970s and until the onset of HIV in 1981; during the AIDS epidemic [1981–1995], and into the present time.
Saturday, 29.6.2019, 11:30–13:00
SAO PAULO IN HI-FI LUFE STEFFEN, BRAZIL, 2016, 100 MINS.
A historical documentary about Sao Paulo’s gay night life during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, with testimonials from people who lived through that time and images of unforgettable shows at classical night clubs of the city. Bringing back to memory the stars, the heroes, and even the bad guys: military dictatorship and AIDS epidemic.
Saturday, 29.6.2019, 15:30–17:10
THE ARCHIVETTES MEGAN ROSSMAN, USA, 2018, 61 MINS.
‘The Archivettes’ is a feature-length documentary about the Lesbian Herstory Archives. Realising that ‘Our history was disappearing as quickly as we were making it’, Deborah Edel and Joan Nestle co-founded the Lesbian Herstory Archives, the world’s largest collection of materials by and about lesbians. For more than 40 years, through many of the major milestones in LGBTQ+ history, the all-volunteer organisation has literally rescued history from the trash. Now the co-founders are in their mid-70s, and the group faces a number of challenges: A transfer of leadership. The rise of digital technology. A renewed call to activism in a politically charged moment. ‘The Archivettes’ is a documentary film that explores how this group came together to combat lesbian invisibility and create ‘a place that says yes’.
Megan Rossmanis Assistant Professor of Communication at Purchase College and an award-winning documentary filmmaker. Rossman’s films have screened at festivals including DOC NYC and Outfest and she has received numerous prizes, including best student documentary in the Emerging Filmmakers Showcase at the Cannes Film Festival American Pavilion in 2017. ‘The Archivettes’ was awarded the prestigious Princess Grace Award and is her first feature-length film project.
Thursday 27.6.2019, 13:00–14:30
WE ARE HERE: LESBITRANS IN CHINA JING ZHAO & SHI TOU, CHINA, 2015, 58 MINS.
What happens when 300 lesbians from around the world attend the largest United Nations conference? How did two busloads of lesbians headed to an underground nightclub help spark the birth of a lala [LBT] movement in China?
At the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, the first ever lesbian tent at an UN NGO Forum was created. At the tent, ideas were shared, connections were made, identities were assured with a growing emergence of energy for change. Outspoken lesbian feminist leaders rallied around the statement, ‘Lesbian Rights are Human Rights,’ as the issue of women’s sexual orientation was made visible for the first time on such a significant global stage.
Emerging from hidden shadows of shame and invisibility, Chinese lalas began a hard-fought path of deliverance from themselves, from family, and from an apprehensive environment. In doing so, they sought empowerment and change as they explored concepts and issues from self-affirmation to rights consciousness. The film powerfully moves forward to the present day and shows the drastic change in today’s young feminist lalas – their challenging of sexism and homophobia with daring public street actions on subways – a parallel action to their forerunners in 1995, with much vigor and defiance 20 years later.
Friday 28.6.2019, 11:30–13:00