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Friendship as a Way of Life

This major exhibition by UNSW Galleries celebrates Australia's LGBTQIA+ community in a big way.
By Marissa Ciampi
July 20, 2020
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Friendship as a Way of Life

This major exhibition by UNSW Galleries celebrates Australia's LGBTQIA+ community in a big way.
By Marissa Ciampi
July 20, 2020
  shares

UNSW Galleries has finally reopened to the public, and it has done so in a big way — by unveiling a major LGBTQIA+ exhibition. Running until Saturday, November 21, Friendship as a Way of Life celebrates LGBTQIA+ visibility, intimacy, collaboration, sex and knowledge.

Curated by the UNSW Galleries Director José Da Silva and Deputy Director Kelly Doley, the exhibition features more than 20 artists — including ALOK, Camilo Godoy, and Gavin Kirkness and the Australian AIDS Memorial Quilt project, along with material from the Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives.

A highlight: the re-staging of a major work by American artist Macon Reed, titled Eulogy for the Dyke Bar 2016. The installation recreates the interior of a lesbian bar and acts as a community space for performances, conversations and socialising. This 'bar' will host a full program of events come October and November, including a performance by Australian musician June Jones.

Macon Reed, Eulogy for the Dyke Bar 2016. Installation and programming series. Installation view: UNSW Galleries, Sydney. Courtesy of the artist

Several new works are also featured, like the photographs by Helen Grace, which document Amazon Acres, an all-female community in northern NSW. Then there's Ella Sutherland's new prints, which pay tribute to Australia's lesbian erotic magazine Wicked Women. And collaborative duo Parallel Park will present a a new performance video that explores interpersonal relationships.

International works by Scandinavian duo Elmgreen & Dragset's The Incidental Self 2007 will be on display too — with this installation spanning hundreds of photos that are making their Australian premiere.

Alongside the physical exhibition is the online series Forms of Being Together, which will share weekly talks, conversations and digital projects from the exhibiting artists and other local creatives. New content will be shared each week, with highlights including live talks on the history of Australia's gay motorcycle groups with leather historian Timothy Robert, the importance of QPOC (Queer People of Colour) party spaces by DJ Sezzo, and a discussion on queer parenting and surrogacy with First Nations writer and activist Nayuka Gorrie.

Also, an online video commission by Nikos Pantazopoulos will explore the history of Sydney's Oxford Street — by focusing on two homoerotic paintings salvaged from Midnight Shift prior to its closure in 2017. And DJ Gemma has curated a special mix of music that captures Sydney's underground queer dance scene.

Friendship as a Way of Life runs until Saturday, November 21. The exhibition is open to the public free-of-charge every Tuesday–Saturday from 10am–5pm.

Images: UNSW Galleries. Installation views: Friendship as a Way of Life. Photography: Zan Wimberley.

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