A new art exhibition exploring the lives and experiences of older gay men will be launched today in Cork. The project aims at giving older LGBTQ+ people the possibility to express themselves through art and at acknowledging the struggles that they faced at a time when Irish society demonised and vilified them.
Produced in association with Cork Gay Project, the exhibition is titled Before The Rainbow…And After and it includes collage images, poetic text, a film piece and a book of photography. Other people who collaborated in the making of it are photographer Carolyn Collier, filmographer Cathal MacGabhann, UK artist Mark Storor and creative producer Claire Ryan.
10 older members of the LGBTQ+ community participated in the project in the last nine weeks. They took part in workshops to develop creative language together and find an artistic way to tell their stories. The result is an amazing exhibition that recounts these gay men’s stories through various artistic mediums, including collage, photography, film and costume design.
“I’ve lived the full gamut of experiences as a gay man in Ireland seeing society dramatically change over time,” said Will Kennedy, one of the participants in the project. “This project has been the best thing I’ve ever done and holds a particular significance for me looking ahead to next year, which marks the 30th anniversary of decriminalisation of homosexuality in Ireland.”
Some moving interviews this morning on a special #LivesLessOrdinary Tripe + Drisheen Sunday read. 3 older gay men spoke to @ellieobyrne1 about their lives in advance of the @GayProjectIRL "Before the Rainbow…And After" art project, launching tomorrow: https://t.co/225RnIdqU3 pic.twitter.com/SUS47DWRv5
— Tripe + Drisheen (@TDrisheen) August 28, 2022
The exhibition will be launched today, August 29, at a special invite-only event. After the launch, part of the exhibition, comprising the publication, a visual poem and a song, will be available online on the Gay Project website and their social media from August 30.
“Taking part in the project was like being part of a real happy family where everyone was open and honest and talked at ease,” said David McCarthy, another participant.
Our final participant introduction before the project launches.
Will Kennedy, age 65, lives in and is from Cork City:
I’ve lived the full gamut of experiences as a gay man in Ireland seeing society dramatically change over time.
Photograph by: Claire Ryan. pic.twitter.com/t8d7sI2x04
— Gay Project 🏳️🌈 (@GayProjectIRL) August 28, 2022
“It brought us together as a group and we found ourselves discussing politics, our own experiences, and the gay movement,” commented Lindsey Walsh. “I think older gay men are slightly overlooked so it’s great that the focus was on this age group and it would be great to have another art project or forum going forward that brings the older and younger generations together and looks at the history of the gay movement.”
You can find the Before The Rainbow…And After exhibition at the following webpage in the Cork Gay Project.
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