In 2017 Gala celebrated its 20th anniversary and the exhibition ‘Out the Box: A Glimpse into 20 Years of Queer Archiving’ featured as part of these anniversary celebrations. Out the Box showcased some of the treasures, stories and personalities found in Gala’s archival collections. With almost 200 collections and growing, what was displayed was only a small sample of what can be found in Gala’s many boxes. Gala’s Patron, Justice Edwin Cameron, Board member, Zethu Matebeni and ex-director, Ruth Morgan gave speeches reflecting on the the history of the LGBTQIA+ movement in South Africa, and Gala’s contribution to that. The evening closed with a performance by Danielle Bowler. Read Justice Edwin Cameron’s speech here.
As a retrospective exhibition, content and display material was largely drawn from material already found in Gala’s collections. In addition to the 26 panels, display material included 15 suspended historic t-shirts, as well as posters, placards and banners from Gala’s historic collections. Archives assistant Karin Tan also created portrait artworks of Gala’s directors over the last 20 years, which were framed and displayed in the exhibition. Video footage from South Africa’s first Pride march in 1990 was also shown (looped) on a screen in the exhibition space.
As part of the celebrations, on the 29th of November, Gala hosted the book launch of ‘Blackwashing Homophobia: Violence and the Politics of Sexuality, Gender and Race’, by Gala’s board member, Melanie Judge.
The ‘Out the Box’ exhibition opened at the Johannesburg Holocaust & Genocide Centre (JHGC) on 15 November 2017 and ran until 8 January 2018. The exhibition was researched and curated by Gala archivist Linda Chernis with Karin Tan acting as curatorial assistant. The exhibition was project managed and installed by Mark Sinoff, and design work was done by Blain van Rooyen.