If you are a member of the LGBTQ+ community, Northern Ireland is the worst place to live, in terms of rights, in the whole of the UK or Ireland. Fundamental rights that exist throughout Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales do not exist in the North. Over the past decade homophobic hate crimes have increased year on year, and specific legislation for trans hate crimes is absence. When all of these are mixed in with the melting pot conservative ideologies, such as creationism, that still exist in Northern Ireland, it results in an atmosphere unconducive to the LGBTQ+ community. It is this community, and the challenges they face in terms of rights and broader soceital perceptions, that serves as the departure point for the latest exhibition in Belfast Exposed.
Titled Let Us Eat Cake, the show features the work of Australian artist and writer Anthony Luvera. The project was born out of Luvera’s research lead work, which saw the artist host workshops, interviews and online discussions with the LGBTQ+ community in Northern Ireland in order to better explore the issues of the what it means to be queer in the North. The result sees a set of collaborative self-portraits which raise and question the themes of identity and equality. As well as the work hosted in Belfast Exposed, Luvera has also produced a publication and has detailed the work and stories behind the images via an online blog – which can be read here.
Lets Us Eat Cake continues in Belfast Exposed until December 23rd with more details available online here. Next Friday, November 24th, sees a panel discussion on the work as part of the Being Human Festival, with more details on that specific event available online here. Go support this vital exhibition and the community it seeks to champion.
Main Image: Collaborative Self-Portrait of Chris Finlay from Let Us Eat Cake by Anthony Luvera, 2017