From Bedroom to Battle Ground
For the first time in over a decade, Hackney Museum will be hosting an LGBT History Month exhibition, celebrating the borough's historic, diverse and boundary-breaking LGBTQI+ community.
From Thursday 1 February until Tuesday 8 May visitors can view the two displays that make up the exhibition: ‘From Bedroom to Battleground’ by Project Indigo and ‘Out and About’.
‘From Bedroom to Battleground’ has been created by members of Project Indigo, a local LGBTQI+ youth group run by Off Centre, a mental health and wellbeing charity. Facilitated by artist Liv Wynter, this exhibition shares the voices of Project Indigo members, who hope that by opening up about their personal stories, they can help teach people what it’s like to be young and LGBTQI+ in Hackney.
Armani, 15, from Homerton said: “I enjoyed being part of the workshops to make the exhibition. It was good to be creative when I am feeling stressed. I am looking forward to the launch of our work as I hope it will inspire people to know that it’s ok to be who they are.”
The Project Indigo exhibition was made possible thanks to the artist Stik and the fund-raising auction of his iconic ‘Hackney Pride’ banner at Christie’s last year. Stik said: “'I am proud to have helped make this project possible and feel inspired by the courage of the young people involved in presenting our community to the world.”
The ‘Out and About’ display is a collaborative wallpaper design project between artist Angela Groundwater and Out and About, an LGBTQI+ group for people aged 50 and over. Hidden within the traditional wallpaper pattern are the stories of five group members, told through objects of personal significance to them. The custom-made wallpaper weaves a narrative out of illustrations, inspired by art workshops to create the piece looking at the unique challenges older people face 51 years on from the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in the UK.
I’m excited we’re hosting this exhibition at Hackney Museum; when we relaunched LGBT History month last year we asked residents to get involved and tell us their stories. I’m pleased together we’ve started to capture and celebrate the experiences of Hackney’s LGBTQI+ residents, especially giving voice to older residents who fought so hard for the freedoms we now enjoy.
This not only helps to inform the younger generation, but celebrates role models and causes they can identify with and build upon, ensuring Hackney’s values of inclusivity are shared with future generations. This exhibition is also a fantastic chance to explore the challenges and opportunities of today’s LGBTQI+ community and I would recommend all residents come and visit it.
The artworks on display have been developed in tandem with a year-long drive from Hackney Museum to collect material from the borough’s LGBTQI+ community, which so far has seen 13 oral histories collected, 10 volunteers trained in collecting historical material, and a number of artefacts donated to the Museum including campaigning materials and performance posters from the BlooLips drag performance art group.
Hackney Museum are still on the lookout for objects to further plug the gap in their LGBTQI+ collection. Visit www.hackney.gov.uk/museum-projects for more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 8356 3500.