‘Midsumma Festival’ returns to Melbourne this January, bringing a wave of pre-eminent queer arts and cultural festivities from 14 January to 4 February. Since its debut in 1988, the three-week event has celebrated the LGBTQIA+ communities, offering audiences a diverse display of spectacular performances, talks and social events.
In 2018, the ‘Midsumma Festival’ focuses on several key areas including: access for disability cultures; First Nations engagement; a spotlight on youth and other more marginalised parts of the LGBTQIA+ communities. The open-access festival features another stellar line up with more than 170 events which promote and develop queer arts including theatre, dance, film, music, drag, sport, talks, visual art and parties.
In the visual arts category, Annelies Hofmeyr’s ‘Trophy Wife Barbie – Sh*t just got real’ at Lord Coconut until 3 February, focuses on modern gender issues and roles. ‘Trophy Wife Barbie’s’ main goal is to highlight the limitations of labels and is an invitation to consider what might happen if we celebrate what we have in common, rather than fear the things that set us apart. Her antlers are a physical representation of a label imposed on her, likening her to a hunting trophy; something to be owned.
‘WE ARE HERE’, curated by Angela Bailey, sees five outstanding contemporary artists bring to life queer histories drawn from State Library Victoria and Australia Lesbian and Gay Archives.
‘Never a Crime’ at the Abbotsford Convent is a photographic exhibition of portraits by Lisa White that explores mature- aged men’s experiences of homosexual law reform and Victoria’s expungement scheme, and in ‘QueerTech.io Midsumma’ takes the leap into the digital realm, presenting an extraordinary online survey of queer digital visual art works accompanied by a special one-off screening at Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI).
The ‘Midsumma Australia Post Art Prize 2017’ is a survey of outstanding queer artists reflecting their potent personal and political perspectives on the world. This nation-wide, non-acquisitive award is open to early career and established artists working in any medium. This year it showcases the work of its finalists at No Vacancy, QV Gallery.
Sebastian Zagarella ‘s ‘Inside/Out’ installation focuses on removing the stigma that continues to present itself when we talk about HIV. An associated forum associated, Inside/ Out Roundtable Conversation, will be held on Saturday 20 January at 2pm. The forum will be an opportunity to speak with the artist about the installation, as well as interact with various artists, writers, community advocates, health practitioners and educators who are all engaged intimately with the virus.
Celebrate the festival’s finale on the closing weekend with Midsumma Horizon at State Library Victoria – an arty party to celebrate queer history, where revellers can get their portraits taken throughout the night to be zipped-up and archived for posterity in a time capsule at Australia Lesbian and Gay Archives.