Last chance to catch the National Library's Living with Pride exhibition

As the National Library's 'Living with Pride' series draws to a close, there's still time to catch the exhibition of photographs from the Christopher Robson collection.

Black and white headshot of two men. Bill Foley (left) with his arm around the shoulder of his partner, Christopher Robson (right). From the Living with Pride exhibition.
Image: Christopher Robson/National Library of Ireland

November marks the conclusion of Living with Pride, the National Library of Ireland’s year-long programme exploring the Irish Queer Archive (IQA). With that comes the closing of the National Photographic Archive’s exhibition Living with Pride: Photographs by Christopher Robson.

The exhibition, which launched back in June, to mark LGBTQ+ Pride Month, presents a colourful depiction of LGBTQ+ life throughout the ‘90s and ‘00s. The selection of images in the display was chosen from an archive of over 2,000 photographs taken by activist and photographer, Christopher Robson.

Photograph of a Pride parade with people and float dressed in pink. The central figure is the drag queen Panti Bliss. She is standing in profile looking over her shoulder towards the camera.
Let’s get this show on the road!

Christopher was a central figure in Irish LGBTQ+ activism. He played a key role in the decriminalisation of homosexuality back in 1993 and was pivotal in the introduction of civil partnership in 2011. He was also involved in the enactment of a number of other State equality legislations.  

The exhibition was co-curated by Tonie Walsh, founder of the IQA and Christopher’s partner and fellow LGBTQ+ rights activist, Bill Foley. Bill donated the collection of images to the IQA in 2015 following Christopher’s passing in 2013. 

The beautiful collection of images on display at the exhibition are a fascinating combination of various Pride marches and LGBTQ+ protest events both in Ireland and abroad. They colourfully chart the evolution of Dublin Pride’s growth in size, enthusiasm, and confidence. They also highlight and pay homage to some of the other key figures involved in Ireland’s LGBTQ+ rights movement.

In the upstairs space of the gallery, the images pay tribute to Christopher himself, creating an intimate portrait of his life, his loves and his passions. 

The exhibition is free to attend at the National Photographic Archive in Dublin’s Temple Bar. It is open to the public daily until November 21 and is well worth an in-person visit. However, for those who can’t make it, there is an online version available here

There are also two fantastic online closing events scheduled for Thursday, November 25. At 2 pm there will be a virtual tour of the exhibition, in which attendees will learn about the man behind the camera and his wonderful collection of images.

At 7 pm, NLI will host the closing event of the Living with Pride series, ‘That’s So Gay! The Lexicon & Iconography of LGBT+ Life’. The online panel discussion will be moderated by historian and director of Gender Studies at UCD, Dr Mary McAuliffe. Acclaimed speakers include Philippa Ryder, Founder & Chief Operating Officer of Under the Rainbow and Ailbhe Smyth, feminist activist and the former founding head of Women’s Studies at UCD.

Both events will be free but registration is essential. 

© 2021 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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