Image Credit (Featured Image): Menelas (2017)



Established on 4th July 2016, Balaclava.Q is a queer art project and collective which connects, promotes and creates platforms for artists who identify as queer or other.  This project seeks to explore the notion of a queer aesthetic and asks artists to respond to a series of tactics which strategically subvert, activate, investigate and promote a global-conversation around concerns affecting the queer community.

In year one of this project two tactics have been initiated:

  • TACTIC 1: OBSCURING THE FACE: which asks artists to present works which respond to this title. By obscuring the face this affords artists the opportunity to push the boundaries of their own creative output without fear of reprimand, especially in areas of the world where hate and fear of the other is still dominant.
  • TACTIC 2: HIVideo: is an annual global showcase of art films which asks artists to present works which look at HIV/AIDS. The global screening takes place every year on World AIDS day (1st December).

In year two (2017-2018), Balaclava.Q presents a third tactic for artists to explore, namely:


Unlike Tactic 1 (OBSCURING THE FACE), ABSTRACT ACTIVISM does not ask artists to hide or obscure the subjects face. Indeed, with this tactic Balaclava.Q asks artists to “lift the mask” in tangible and intangible ways.

A play on ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONISM — a term derived from works created by artists in New York (USA) in the 1940s-1950s, often characterised by gestural brushstrokes or mark-making and the impression of spontaneity – ABSTRACT ACTIVISM is where the more conceptual notions of the happening, interventions, reactive, conceptual and activist art meet the idea of presenting work which initially appears subversive in its refusal to adhere to a fixed or majority focus form of communication. This tactic asks artists to record statements, moments, performances and flux in the most abstract ways, while addressing a queer concern or issue.



ABSTRACT – relating to or denoting art that does not attempt to represent external reality, but rather seeks to achieve its effect using shapes, colours, and textures.

ACTIVISM – the policy or action of using vigorous campaigning to bring about political or social change.


Balaclava.Q asks artists to open up the aforementioned definition using a conceptual approach towards breaking this tactic down. Always open to interpretation, ABSTRACT ACTIVISM is in the hands of you the artist, and as with each and every tactic on Balaclava.Q, tactic 3 will be organically shaped by each artist that contributes to it. Abstract in concept and activist in approach, Balaclava.Q is asking artists to present new ways of seeing and tackling issues affecting the queer self and/or community.  It is for this reason that the artist statement is key to this tactic, therefore the submission guidelines are as follows:

  • ARTISTS: Balaclava.Q is open to collectives, groups, partnerships, collaborations, new and established artists from any country. This project is open to artists regardless of gender, race, class, national origin, ethnicity, religious preference, and disability, and who identify as queer or other. As with all Balaclava.Q tactics, we are inclusive and seek to maintain a safe space, free from censorship and judgement.
  • THEME & CONTENT: Balaclava.Q is open to a multiplicity of aesthetics, mediums and representations.
  • ARTWORK: All file formats are accepted; for example, work can be submitted as photographs, videos, animations, recorded performances or videos.  You may submit as many pieces as you like. Titles and dates of the work are also useful for the viewer and for copyright purposes. Balaclava.Q has several online platforms, including a website, and Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube accounts. All file formats are accepted and can be presented across all platforms.
  • DEADLINE: There isn’t one. As with tactics 1 & 2, Tactic 3 is an ongoing investigation, conversation and body of research.
  • COST: There isn’t one. Balaclava.Q is a not-for-profit and works with and for artists to promote their work and cement their place in the queer art community.
  • ARTIST STATEMENT: As mentioned earlier the artist statement is key to your audience and contemporaries gaining access to your work, we ask that artists present a statement of not less than 150 words.
  • PROMOTION: We ask all artists to provide links to any social media and/or web sites that we can attach to your gallery on the Balaclava.Q website, so that we can promote you as widely as possible.
  • COPYRIGHT:Please provide relevant legal and copyright information to protect your work — if you wish.


Please send questions, feedback, ideas and expressions of interest via the contact section of the website or email direct to

  • (Balaclava.Q Founder and Director) Stiofan O’Ceallaigh (2017)