The Queer Times School exhibition is now on at the Gallery of Modern Art. Our Art Editor Amy Rodgers was recently given a guided tour by producer Katie Bruce to gain extra insight into the exhibition.
This summer, the first (and hopefully not the last?) Queer Times School brought together a melting pot of activists, writers, artists and health workers for a series of talks and community engagement exploring the experiences of queer lives. Artist Jason E Boweman has curated an exhibition in an attempt to reflect and express this community engagement that took place during a four-day period back in July.
It was always going to be an ambitious project. The emotion that so often comes up when you put a bunch of queer people together and ask them to talk about being queer is naturally going to be difficult to express several months later. But expressing emotion and mood is an artists’ job, after all, and Jason and his participants have done it well. The exhibition boasts a collection of commissioned prints, a film screening, a library and a particularly impressive mural which all work together to give the viewer a real sense of what went on during summer.
The prints and the accompanying captions show the depth and breadth of what it means to be queer, warts and all. And it’s not all doom and gloom (which sadly, so many mainstream depictions of queer life still seem to be). Importantly, many of the prints successfully express the utopian, forward thinking ambitions of queer lives, shedding shame and stagnant labels for optimism and becoming.
When I was in high school, history lessons in Scottish schools were completely whitewashed. Black and queer history did not even get a passing mention, never mind explored in any sort of meaningful depth or nuance. This is changing. Previously overlooked histories and identities are beginning to be explored and interrogated with effort now underway to get the prints of the exhibition discussed in schools. A task, Katie Bruce beamed in her introduction to the exhibition, made all the more easier with the recent success of the TIE campaign which secured the embedding of LGBTQI inclusive education into the Scottish curriculum.
Times are changing for queer people and this exhibition is an excellent example of this.