“As a pilot edition, Artspace NZ facilitates an artist-led conversation aimed to explore current and future practical, critical and theoretical needs on all aspects surrounding Queer artistic practices in Aotearoa. It considers issues such as mental health, politics and strategies, places of education, equitable funding possibilities and much more.
Together we will build a collective kaupapa and discuss the need for such a forum. The first evening is led by artist Richard Orjis and Artspace Administrator/artist Jaimee Stockman-Young.
We invite artists, curators, and students from all walks of life to join us for this evening and forge with us a plan to make these conversations a monthly event at Artspace NZ.”
The genesis of Queer Think was formed out of conversations Jaimee and I had concerning the lack of queer artistic practice and representation within New Zealand.
It’s easy to feel complacent in this country as we have the annual Pride Festival, marriage equality and legal protection against discrimination. We also have the FAF Swag collective doing amazing work alongside exhibitions such as the The Bill, Rereading the Rainbow and Implicated and Immune.
Yet the lack of programming in our major public galleries and museums is deafening. Where are the exhibitions with specific queer content and why are the archives in our museums and galleries so inadequate in terms of queer art historical information? It’s a display of cultural amnesia and erasure.
In New Zealand, the queer community is over represented in mental health, suicide, substance abuse and homelessness statistics. Homosexuality is still illegal in seventy-two countries and punishable by death in eight. Close to home, Gay sex could become illegal in Indonesia within the year and recently, the Australian queer community had to survive the humiliation and associated violence of a public vote on their right to marry.
I am not sure what Queer Think may do or achieve, but I think it’s important to at least create the space and see.