Once again the Tate Britain put on a very interesting exhibition, bringing to the forefront art which ranges from the 18th to 19th century, during a time when the lesbian, gay and bisexual community had to hide their sexuality and true identity. If they were to express themselves openly they were demonised and persecuted, being a reminder of how barbaric times were, as their ‘behaviour’ was deemed unlawful and did not stand up to the practises of the church. When attending galleries in my youth I found many of the art bland and boring as most things on display from the early eighteen century were either of religious topics featuring angels falling from the sky or middle and upper classed individuals focusing on wealth and status, it was clear these were the only ones who had the freedom to express themselves, showcasing their work through their network of high powered connections.
Fortunately this was traditional art with a twist being the total opposite, I was taken on a history lesson of some of the most prolific queer artists of our time, starting by walking into the Linbury Gallery. Presented with classical pieces in gold frames against dark blue, teal walls. Evelyn De Morgan ‘Aurora Triumphans’ acted as a centre piece with almost everyone gravitating towards it upon entering. Some of the works were blatantly obvious, such as ‘Bathing’ by Duncan Grant defined human bodies diving, swimming and climbing into a boat using a simple palette of colours.
The exhibition closes with short films on individuals reflecting on their own personal experiences and daily lives today, as they discover their sexuality and their interaction personally also within the work environment. Again this reminds us of how minorities and any individuals for that matter were persecuted for being different from what society deemed 'normal'.