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First Nations creatives set to feature in revolutionary LGBTQIA+ exhibition, Queer PHOTO

Rhiannon Clarke -

Queer PHOTO is set to present a unique initiative, bringing together artists from various backgrounds, including First Nations creatives, to produce large-scale outdoor artworks.

Presented by Midsumma and PHOTO 2024 in partnership with Creative Victoria's Go West program, the gallery exhibitions and interactive public performance program will include a wide range of First Nations artists from Australia and the Pacific.

Featuring First Nations artists include Lilah Benetti (Black & Blur), Matthew Thorne and Derik Lynch (Marungka Tjalatjunu/Dipped in Black), Karla Dickens (To See or Not to See) and Peter Waples-Crowe (Affirm).

Works by Pacific artists Salote Tawale (Exquisite Corpse), Leilani Fuimaono (So'otaga) and FAFSWAG arts collective, an Aotearoa-based Queer Polynesian arts collective (Alteration) have also been commissioned for the exhibition.

With a lineup of 17 talented artists, 14 captivating exhibitions, 30 engaging interactive events and 7 diverse locations, Queer PHOTO is set to breathe life into renowned venues and bustling streets of the Melbourne's West.

Spanning across the Midsumma Festival and the PHOTO 2024 International Festival of Photography, Queer PHOTO aims to celebrate diversity and creativity in the realm of art.

The initiative will create a public gallery space, showcasing an array of visually stunning artworks by LGBTQIA+ artists that are both accessible and prominently displayed.

Marungka Tjalatjunu (Dipped in Black). (Image: Derik Lynch and Matthew Thorne)

Midsumma CEO, Karen Bryant, said their excited to have initiated this exciting new project, with their first ever Queer PHOTO Festival program.

"Taking over Melbourne's West with bold public art, we are thrilled to be partnering with PHOTO 2024 and Trocadero Projects," Ms Bryant said.

"To bring this to life with an exciting programming line-up that represents the very best in queer photography, whilst ensuring an accessible program with something for everyone."

PHOTO 2024 curator, Brendan McCleary, said taking place across galleries, parks, and an historic mansion in Melbourne's west, Queer PHOTO celebrates LGBTQIA+ artists.

"Each in their own way using queer thinking to consider potential scenarios that lie ahead, and how current actions and activisms are creating future realities – from advances in technology," Mr McCleary said.

"Through to responding to climate crisis, and connecting with Indigenous ways of thinking.

"There is a beautiful community found within these works, highlighting the incredible ways in which queer voices are shaping a better tomorrow."

Exploring themes of belonging, community and connection within the Pacific Islander and Māori diaspora. (Image: Leilani Fuimaono)

PHOTO Australia founder and artistic director, Elias Redstone, said that the PHOTO Australia is proud to partner with Midsumma Festival.

She said in hosting Melbourne's inaugural festival of queer photography, PHOTO Australia provides artists with an opportunity to reflect on global events and envision potential alternative futures.

The festival's theme, The Future Is Shaped by Those Who Can See It, encourages artists to explore and express their unique perspectives.

The exhibition is set to be held in Footscray, Newport, and Werribee from 27 January to 24 March, 2024.

Queer PHOTO exhibitions include:

Footscray Community Arts:

- Black & Blur by Lilah Benetti

- The Zizi Show by Jake Elwes

- Like A River by Daniel Jack Lyons

- Orange Grove by Clifford Prince King

- Marungka Tjalatjunu (Dipped in Black) by Matthew Thorne and Derik Lynch

- Exquisite Corpse by Salote Tawale

Reclaiming their identity and history. (Image: Asafe Ghalib)

The Outside Gallery, Footscray:

- So'otaga (Connection) by Leilani Fuimaono

Trocadero Art Space, Footscray:

- SURFACING

Substation, Newport:

- TBWWWTB (To Be What We Want To Be) by Vic Bakin

- Alteration by FAFSWAG

Wyndham Art Gallery, Werribee:

- The New Pre-Raphaelites by Sunil Gupta

Orange Grove, is dark and handsome, filled with Clifford Prince King warm and intricate portraits (Image: Gordon Robichaux)

Werribee Train Station:

- Affirm by Peter Waples-Crowe

Werribee Park Mansion:

- To See or Not to See by Karla Dickens

- Queer Immigrants by Asafe Ghalib

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