During the month of June, GALA hosted an exhibition at Constitution Hill titled Queer Action! The Exhibition was curated by Karin Tan and Genevieve Jeanne Louw. Special thanks to the GALA interns, Allison Wallis, Estelle Brousse and Dominique Watson, for assisting with the realisation of this exhibition. Queer Action! is an exhibition of activism, lobbying and campaigning for LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual and more) rights from the GALA archive. These historical documents and objects commemorate the struggle for equality from the 1960’s to the present, in South Africa. The exhibition also offers the opportunity to contribute to GALA’s archive by offering a current understanding/opinion/experience of or about LGBTQIA+ people.
The exhibition explores key campaigns: the Immorality Amendment Act of 1969, The Marriage Campaign, HIV/Aids Activism, Pride Marches and the movements raising awareness around hate crimes.
This exhibition is located at Constitution Hill and is therefore informed by the socio-political history inherent in this space. The Constitutional Court is a key legal institution that is fundamental to achieving equal rights for all marginalised people in South Africa. It has bared witness to multiple marches and protests conducted by activists and organisations fighting against hate and celebrating diversity.
In contemporary South Africa, there is still a lot of work to be done to achieve equality for gender and sexually diverse people. This exhibition looks back on extensive forms of activism that have shaped many movements in queer civil society today. It further attempts to build on the contemporary archive by making reference to current efforts to create visibility, fight for equality, and achieve legislative and social inclusivity for LGBTQIA+ people.
To allow for a decentralised narrative of the material found in GALA’s archive, certain collections were made available to the current (2018) GALA interns to discover, interpret and represent in the exhibition as collages. These collections are the Marriage Equality Campaign, the Immorality Amendment Act and the Pride collection’s “Wall of Remembrance”.
The exhibition encourages visitors to engage with the material and information by asking them to actively add to certain displays. The intention is to prompt the visitor by using questions/directives and visual devices (i.e. a map) as guides to think about the content of the exhibition in personal ways. This allows for the visitor to place themselves in relation to South Africa’s LGBTQIA+ history. The questions/directives are themed as follows: Celebration, Aspiration and Solidarity.