Queer Art Always
Homotopia commissions 13 LGBTQIA artists to unveil new work between May and July

13 new artworks, created by LGBTQIA artists and creatives, will be unveiled by Homotopia this summer, as part of a new project ‘Queer Art Always’. With an investment of £10,000, the new commissions include socially distanced cabaret, an online art social for young people, afrocentric fetish fashion and an interactive dance project. 

Homotopia, the UK’s longest running LGBTQIA arts festival, launched the call for commissions in April, working to demonstrate the power of art to connect and unite us all. The criteria was for artists and creatives to suggest positive and imaginative ways for audiences to engage via non-traditional platforms, suitable for social distancing. 

With 150 applications, including artists working across all kinds of mediums and disciplines, like theatre, visual art, performance art, dance film and more, A total of 13 were chosen. 

Each of the works will be available on Homotopia’s digital platforms. 

Festival Director, Char Binns, says, “At the heart of Homotopia has always been to provide a platform for artists to express themselves, to have the freedom to tell their own story, create their own work, without fear of censure. Art has always been vitally important as a means of self expression, but also of hope. Queer Art Always is our way of celebrating artists, giving them a way of connecting, and approaching the particular challenges LGBTQIA people are facing in this current crisis.”

The commissions include …  

ACE AMBROSE & KATIE WALTERS

A piece of poetry and music responding to the artists’ experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic, as sick and disabled queer people. Ace Ambrose is an eccentris androgynous songwriter and poet. Katie Walters is an autistic and chronically ill performance poet. 

FILLA CRACK

Filla Crack: Out & About is a socially distanced live cabaret performance, based around Liverpool. Miss Filla Crack is a Scouse born and bred drag cabaret performer, resident host at the Liverpool Everyman Theatre’s Bistro drag nights and performs regularly around the city.

FREDRIK ANDERSSON
Originally from Sweden, for the last five year Fredrik has been based in London as an independent artist and educator. Queer Youth Art Collective is an online social art project for LGBTQIA young people (aged 18 – 26).

HARRY CLAYTON-WRIGHT
Harry Clayton-Wright is a performance artist, theatre-maker, and internet-provocateur from Blackpool, highly regarded as one of the most exciting and prolific new voices in the UK arts scene. His debut solo theatre show Sex Education premiered in 2017 winning the LGBTQ award at Brighton Fringe Festival and was nominated for a Total Theatre Award (Emerging Artist/Company) at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2019. You Otter Know is a digital zine chronicling sobriety, entertaining personal history and showbiz insights.

JOSEPH COTGRAVE
Learning from the AIDS epidemic in times of isolation is an artist-led, online Q&A. Joseph is a visual artist and activist based in Liverpool. His practice explores personal narratives as a young gay man living with HIV. 

KENNETH MORRIS
A new work will chart the development of his collection of afrocentric fetish fashion wear, and be presented as an online exhibition. Kenneth is a stylist whose work has featured in  the Manchester Central Library exhibition, “Journey” in August 2019, Manchester Black Pride Vogue Ball in August 2019 and Birmingham Shout Festival Vogue Ball in November 2019. 

LEYLA REYNOLDS
Blitz Spirit is a cynical exploration of wartime language used around COVID-19, through a series of illustrations, encountered as street posters. Leyla Reynolds – is an illustrator who lives and works in London

LEO SKILBECK
A series of short films which are a poem, a love song to “rural queerz” hoping to spot someone else on the horizon Leo is a writer and director and one third of the theatre company Milk Presents. 

MATTHEW RAWCLIFFE
My cigarette is on fire! (& other stories) is an interactive dance project, made in collaboration with LGBTQIA audience members. Matthew Rawcliffe is a Manchester based dance artist trained at Rambert School.

NAOMI WESTERMAN
iWoof Woof is a short digital play following a group of doggers as they stumble their way through their first virtual dogging session. Naomi Westerman is a British playwright and screenwriter and is currently an Associate Company Member at The Bush Theatre.

OUR SPACE: SAYANG & DAHAB
Silsilad Gabay is a Somali phrase meaning chain poems. The project is an interactive, collaborative digital art project connecting QTIPoC artists. AYANG is a Malaysian British DJ, sound artist, producer and activist who uses their platform to explore race, queerness and accessibility in club and queer culture. Dahab is a visual artist, exhibition and screening curator and QTIPoC social organiser. 

YAS NESCATI  
A film of two poems reflecting on the artist’s experience of feeling closeted during lockdown; one poem reflects on the masculinity, the other on the femininity. Yas Necati is a writer and performance poet based in London. 

YOUCEF HADJAZI
A series of photography and storytelling workshops with LGBTQIA asylum seeking individuals. Algerian-born, Kuwait-raised, award-winning Creative Practitioner based between London & Manchester, and working across lens-based media and performance. 

Homtopia has been continuing to commission in lockdown. Working with Liverpool-based queer drag caberet disco night EAT ME + Preach, EAT ME: The Apocalypse Edition featured artists including Auntie Climax, Midgitte Bardot, Astro Princess and more. The hour long livestream, with nine performances in total, is available here 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFoMa_-6RJ5yD5ZJBA0SOvQ/about