Image Credit (Featured Image): Adrian + Shane (2017)
Balaclava.Q is an international queer art project and collective: connecting, promoting and creating platforms for queer artists. Our platforms and projects are safe spaces and promotes discourse around queer issues and activates artistic exploration of the queer aesthetic. Through interactions with artists globally Balaclava.Q develops and produces a series of tactics which will address queer concerns and issues.
Currently, Balaclava.Q employs the following tactics:
TACTIC 1 is a platform, archive and community of queer creatives. It offers queer artists the opportunity to hide, censor and shape-shift identity. By OBSCURING THE FACE artists are free from judgement to express and investigate what OBSCURING THE FACE means to them. To view the portfolio of artists please CLICK HERE and for submission guidelines please CLICK HERE.
TACTIC 2 is an international, simulataneous screening of art films which look at issues around HIV/AIDS. All videos are screened globally on World Aids Day (December 1st). to view HIVideo 2016 please CLICK HERE and for more information please CLICK HERE.
Tactic 3 asks artist to explore the concept of ABSTRACT ACTIVISM; a subversive and strategic approach to highlighting queer concerns. To view the current list of artists please CLICK HERE and for submission guidelines please CLICK HERE.
“Only the human mind invents categories and tries to force facts into separated pigeon-holes. The living world is a continuum in each and every one of its aspects. The sooner we learn this concerning sexual behavior the sooner we shall reach a sound understanding of the realities of sex.” – Alfred Kinsey (1894-1956).Q
Balaclava.Q was created as a knee-jerk reaction to the Orlando, Florida (USA) killings in 2016 when 49 LGBTQ people were murdered and 53 others were wounded or seriously injured, not to mention the number of friends, families, partners and colleagues of the victims who will deeply have been affected. What makes this crime even more horrific is that in Florida one can be fired for being LGBTQ–thus, many of the survivors did not want any publicity. This was the largest mass murder of LGBTQ people since the Holocaust.
Here and now there is a global genocide targeting LGBTQ people, and added to this we must acknowledge the suicides, which predominantly affect young people, caused by fear, stigma and isolation.1 Almost every day we read yet another story in our newsfeed reporting on another person who has been killed simply because they exist. In our digital age we convey our outrage by sharing and commenting on posts, but we are still left with a feeling of helplessness, distance and hopelessness. This project is gravely important in helping people — specifically queer artists — share and connect their stories and experiences in particular ways. Art does not have the power to change laws or transform governments or religions, but it does aid in helping one see differently — and sharing this new way of seeing.
With all of the above stated, these tragic events and unnerving statistics gave me the confidence and drive to start Balaclava.Q—it is the intention that this project will develop organically as artist’s submissions and interactions manifest themselves.
BALACLAVA.Q (A DEFINITION)
BALACLAVA = A CLOSE-FITTING GARMENT COVERING THE WHOLE HEAD AND NECK EXCEPT FOR PARTS OF THE FACE, TYPICALLY MADE OF WOOL.
Balaclava.Q will present work by artists who identify as queer or other, this will act as a community generator as will the theme of works submitted to Balaclava.Q: works that explore the mechanism of obscuring the face. The theme of facial obscurity doesn’t mean anything inherently — and, again, it is not about promoting shame. It is, however, a mechanism to provide safety to some and empowerment to others. Coincidentally in researching queer artists it became clear quite quickly that obscuring the face is a popular aesthetic; for example, drag artists, club kids, Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, aspects BDSM, etcetera covering the face provides an opportunity for freedom of expression.
Balaclava.Q is 100% inclusive and will seek to promote all voices by allowing the following:
Balaclava.Q would not be possible without our international team of volunteers and partners:
Stiofan O’Ceallaigh – Founder and Director
Wilhelm Vincent – Creative Director (South Africa)
Emmanuel Barrouyer – Creative Director (France)
Jose Luis Cortes – Creative Director (Puerto Rico)
Menelas Siafakas – Creative Director (Greece)
Franco Fontana – Translator (France)
John Hopper – Consultant (United Kingdom)
Dr Robert Summers PhD – Art Historian & Queer Theorist (USA)
Balaclava.Q is also proudly partnered with the following: