The Art Gallery of New South Wales will present an ambitious program of art, performance, films, talks and more to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community on the occasion of Sydney WorldPride 2023. Staged across both buildings of the Art Gallery’s newly expanded campus, the program is a celebration of queer artistic practice. It considers the ways queer narratives have been historically framed within institutional contexts, and how artists are reimagining the ways these stories are told today.
As Sydney prepares to host the first WorldPride in the Southern Hemisphere, Art Gallery of NSW director Michael Brand said: ‘We are excited to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community during Sydney WorldPride and acknowledge the important role LGBTQIA+ artists have played in the evolution of art-making.
‘Queer Art After Hours is one of our most popular nights at the Art Gallery each year and always a highlight in the Mardi Gras calendar. This will be the first time Queer Art After Hours will be celebrated in our new building which opened on 3 December, and across the expanded campus. After our fantastic opening celebrations which welcomed thousands of visitors to our new building, we look forward to welcoming new crowds from across Australia and around the globe to take part in our activities during Sydney WorldPride.’
Highlights of the Sydney WorldPride 2023 program at the Art Gallery of NSW include:
Crowd favourite Queer Art After Hours, co-presented with Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, will take place on Wednesday 22 February from 5pm to 10pm. Visitors can catch performances by WorldPride 2023 artists-in-residence Blu Jay, Brian Fuata and Leo Tsao as well as performances by BVT, Dale Woodbridge-Brown, King Cxntessa, Salote Tawale, Megana Holiday and Tommy Misa. Live music will take over the galleries with DJ sets by Baschoe, DJ Gemma with VJ Vaxxx, Neesha Alexander and Salllvage. Join a curator for a tour of queer highlights in the Art Gallery collection. Guests can sit down for a short mystic tarot reading by Imbi or choose from a Venus or Persephone reading by Angela Dix. The LGBTQIA+ Youth Space for under-25s also returns, hosted by the Art Gallery’s Youth Collective. Don’t forget to grab a drink from one of the pop-up bars dotted across the campus and enjoy a bite at the various dining options in both buildings. Queer Art After Hours is free, no bookings required.
In Queer encounters, artworks by Bhenji Ra, Dennis Golding, Sione Tuívailala Monū and Sidney McMahon will be displayed across the iconic vestibule and entrance court of the Art Gallery’s original building, providing a snapshot of some of the contemporary queer art being made in Australia today. The works are in a range of media, including video, photography, installation and performance. Welcoming visitors to the space during a heightened moment of queer visibility, the works also take the opportunity to prompt new ways of looking and memory-making.
Queering the collection
Also in the original building, Queering the collection labels will showcase the breadth of existing queer histories in our collection. The important role LGBTQIA+ artists have played in the evolution of art-making has long been subject to historical erasure. In Queering the collection, over 50 works on display throughout our historical collection galleries will be explored through a queer lens in an expansive research and labelling project. With particular focus on Australian artists, both contemporary and historical, this project is a testament to the significance of queer voices and narratives within the Art Gallery collection.
As part of Sydney WorldPride 2023, the Art Gallery has offered Sweet Incites residencies to four artists. Al Joel, Blu Jay, Brian Fuata and Leo Tsao have been undertaking extensive research at the Art Gallery to develop new performance works such as improvisational workshops, experimental video and sound, and alternative framing of LGBTQIA+ ephemera from archival material. The performances were developed during the artists’ time in residence at the Art Gallery during December 2022 and January 2023 and draw from their encounters with the spaces and the way visitors experience them. The artists will present the outcomes of their residencies across the WorldPride 2023 period, including at Queer Art After Hours. All performances are free, no bookings required.
Redfern's iconic queer neighbourhood bar and creative space The Bearded Tit is bringing its popular The Bearded Tit Talks to the Art Gallery on Sundays during WorldPride 2023. The series will be curated by The Bearded Tit owner Joy Ng and radio presenter and DJ Kilimi. Kilimi will moderate a panel of talks with diverse LGBTQIA+ arts practitioners and community leaders about identity and belonging across LGBTQIA+, migrant and Western Sydney communities. All sessions are free, with no bookings required.
On Sunday 26 February, Art Gallery Cinema will present an afternoon of queer video works, followed by a panel discussion with local artists exploring creative strategies for personal, experimental filmmaking today. The panel will be moderated by Jen and André (Garden Reflexxx), hosts of FBi Radio’s Movies, movies, movies. This program is presented in collaboration with SWARM, a film festival inspired by the traditions of Black radical cinema curated by Xuela, Jackie De Lacy and Garden Reflexxx. Free, bookings recommended, with an allocation of tickets also available on the door.
The entire Sydney WorldPride 2023 program at the Art Gallery of NSW is free, and no bookings or tickets are required, except for the film program.