Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Co-operative in Sydney’s Inner West has been at the forefront of Indigenous art in the Sydney community for over 30 years.
With Sydney having a long history of LGBT+ activism, Boomalli have been facilitating the historic, ongoing debate and supporting the queer community – particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples –, giving them a platform to have their messages heard.
In 1994, the late Matthew Cook penned a letter to the gallery, requesting to have an exhibition during that years’ Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras event. The aim was to showcase images and works from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artist who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans or queer, but also to bring about a greater sense of awareness to issues being faced by the LGBTIQ community, from an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspective. As these artists were a minority, within a minority their artistic expression made for a completely unique exhibition.
Since Cook’s proposal, Boomalli has hosted an annual LGBTIQ exhibition in honour of the Mardi Gras. This year, the gallery presents ‘Good Looking’ curated by Kyra Kum-Sing.
Kum-Sing told NITV,
“I want to honour and pay tribute to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTIQ artists, who have paved the way and made an exhibition like this possible. Highlighting how much we as artists have evolved in time since the first show ‘Looking Good’ which started in 1994.”
I want to honour and pay tribute to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTIQ artists, who have paved the way and made an exhibition like this possible. Highlighting how much we as artists have evolved in time since the first show ‘Looking Good’ which started in 1994.
Last night was the official opening of the exhibition, with special performances from Kerrianne Cox, Dreamtime Divas and Destiny Haz Arrived.
Some of the stand out pieces include Shaun Edwards’ Wild Barra Co. fashion, Mary Munro’s striking totem pieces and the provocative ‘Burn Faggots’ by Peter Waples-Crowe (main image).
Kum-Sing says that all pieces are amazing, but she has been particularly taken by Maurice Shipp, a new artist whose work is sure to excite any viewer who comes across it.
‘Good Looking’ will run from 22 February - 26March at Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Co-operative, 55-59 Flood Street, Leichhardt NSW 2048