Art has and continues to be a platform to share, explore, and create new ideas. What is being coined, as queer art, is no different.
Queerness within the arts pushes boundaries in an environment that is both increasingly accepting and divided at once.
Here are three different lenses on how queer art could be perceived: (1) from a homosexual and lesbian perspective, (2) from the dictionary definition of the word queer, as a verb to describe something strange or odd from a conventional viewpoint, and (3) as a political tool.
As a political tool, queerness in art forms intensifies the voice of communities that have been suppressed and often made invisible by conservative institutional and socio-economic systems.
Maltese LGBTQI filmmakers, authors, musicians, performers, curators, and visual artists have an opportunity to cultivate an intergenerational and interdisciplinary network of support and shared knowledge.
There are a number of openly LGBTQI+ artists on the island. They have delighted audiences not limited to the queer community with their craft. From Sergio Laferla in his participation in CRUX – Smiling Man music video, For Your Ears Only’s (FYEO) Tom Armitage at the Strada Stretta to the various contributors of Kitba Queer, an anthology of LGBTQI literature.
Queer art is the weapon to fight against silencing and invisibility. Collaboration among queer artists and allies in the arts and humanities is critical to actively provide support and visibility that strengthens cohesiveness from a cultural framework - most importantly, a sense of belonging.
Ignorance and fear will only fail to silence the voices of LGBTIQ in Malta with strangling, menace, guns, laws, bottles, knives, and religion when faced with the clarion inclusion message in queer artwork.
“...Artist[s] who identify their practices as queer today call forth utopian and dystopian alternatives to the ordinary, adopt outlaw scenes, embrace criminality and opacity, and forge unprecedented kinships and relationships.” (Getsy, 2016)
Anxieties of public life are not a reason to stay in the closet. In order to continue the way forward – break away from fear and conformity. Embrace your craft and otherness, as they are the fuel to pièces de résistance.
My question to you is this:
Would you rather be a stand-byer in the midst of social and political turmoil? OR join your queer brothers and sisters using your art to educate, commemorate the past strides of the LGBTQI movement, and envision our diverse community in years to come?
Henry is a social researcher, and fluent in English, Portuguese and Spanish. He is a public relations veteran, creating magnetic, distinctive brand identities and building relationships for organizations and individuals. A multi-local globalized citizen. Get in touch with Henry if you are in need of innovative, thought provoking content at firstname.lastname@example.org