Running alongside the numerous official arts events of Sydney WorldPride are a broad array of visual arts exhibitions and installations. These WorldPride-associated events transcend the official dates of WorldPride, with some starting in January and some even running through December. With so much to see, it’s a good idea to plan your itinerary ahead of time. Luckily, our WorldPride Visual Arts Guide is here to help! Please note: with over twenty visual arts events as part of the festival, this list is not exhaustive. Check out the WorldPride website for a full list of the festival’s arts programming.
The arts side of WorldPride kicks off in early January, starting with Karla Dickens: Embracing Shadows, an exhibit at the Campbelltown Arts Centre from the 3rd of January to the 12th of March. This exhibition explores thirty years of Dickens’ art career, focusing on themes of Australian culture, including racial injustice and what it means to be a woman in Australia. Describing her practice for the Art Gallery of NSW, Dickens states: “‘I don’t set out to make political statements. I am political simply because I am who I am – a single mother, a lesbian, a First Australian.’” (1) Featuring iconic works such as Hot Thing (1995) and Black Madonna (2009), this show will also see the premiere of Disastrous, a new series about the devastating floods of 2022.
Next up is an immersive installation by Australian artist Paul Yore, held at Carriageworks from January 5th to February 26th. Word Made Flesh surrounds the viewer with assemblages of found objects and images that make reference to queer culture, pop-culture, capitalism, religion, and politics and engage with the society we live in today. In this world built by Yore, a queer reality rises up from the repurposed rubble of capitalism.
From February 3rd to March 18th at The National Art School is Braving Time: Queer Art in Contemporary Australia. With an emphasis on diversity, this show includes artists from across the LGBTQIA+ spectrum and from a wide array of cultural heritages, featuring the talents of artists like Tony Albert, Salote Tawale, and Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran. Works by all of the artists will explore and acknowledge the trials and triumphs of the LGBTQIA+ community, as queer identity intersects with cultural background, gender identity, and nationality.
Unfolding at the Australian Design Centre from the 7th of February to the 22nd of March is Unravelling Queerly, a showcase of artworks by LGBTQIA+ artists that utilise textile and fibre craft in their practice. Each artwork in this exhibition will explore identity and culture through mediums like embroidery, weaving, sewing, and textile design. Micheal Kennedy, a member of the curatorial team for the event, explains that “‘Textiles and fibrecrafts have been a site of queer creative expression across cultures from time immemorial…We are all part of a magnificent tapestry.’” (2)
Following shortly after is Dylan Mooney: Still here and thriving, showing at N.Smith Gallery from the 8th of February to the 4th of March. Recently featured in Brisbane’s OUTstanding: Indigenous Art Project, Mooney is a renowned First Nations artist known for his Blak Superheroes series. (3) Mooney’s works not only seek to represent and empower First Nations communities, but also to highlight queer love and relationships within First Nations communities. Featuring works like Stuck on You (2020), this exhibition will explore Mooney’s own experiences and identity as a queer Indigenous man.
The Air is Electric, showing from the 10th of February to the 26th of March, is a celebration of Australian queer artist David McDiarmid. In 1976, McDiarmid was the first artist in Australia to hold an openly gay art exhibition. The following year, McDiarmid spent time in the US capturing the gay liberation movement through journal entries and photographs. This exhibit revisits the activism, celebration, and liberation discovered by McDiarmid.
From the 17th of February to the 23rd of April is Linger, Dash, Talk, an exhibition that places First Nations and queer artists at the forefront in explorations of how language functions within communities. Informed by encoded forms of communication like slang, gossip, and in-jokes, this exhibition features artists like Kirli Saunders, Benjy Russell, and Kiki Oner.
Muru – ba: First Nations LGBTIQA+ Trailblazers is an exhibition spanning gallery, digital, and street venues. This exhibition will focus on the stories and voices of the LGBTQIA+ Elders who have fought for queer rights from the 1970s to today. From the 17th of February to the 5th of March, Muru – ba will take over the streets of Sydney with posters, in addition to an exhibition at Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Cooperative and an online exhibition.
Another immersive installation, Eulogy for the Dyke Bar by Macon Reed is open at UNSW Galleries from the 17th of February to the 5th of March. Paying homage to the dyke and lesbian bars of the late 20th century, this installation operates as a fully functional bar and place of gathering for those who identify with “feminine-spectrum queerness.” Reed also uses this installation as a way of reclaiming the word dyke and working to banish its negative connotations.
The last show in our highlights tour of WorldPride’s visual arts programming is Coming Out, Coming Home – An interactive community portrait project for the Queer Chinese in Australia community. Presented by Australia and New Zealand Tongzhi Rainbow Alliance, this multi-media exhibition includes portrait photography, interactive installations, and audio-visual works to tell the stories of Queer Chinese people in Australia. This show runs from the 27th of February to the 5th of March at the Hurstville Museum & Gallery.
This list only scratches the surface of all the incredible arts installations that are taking place as part of Sydney WorldPride. For a full list, be sure to check the WorldPride official website. For more ideas of what to do during the festival, check out our Guide to Official WorldPride Events and our guide to the Best of WorldPride Sports.
Feature Image: Promotional image for Braving Time: Queer Art in Contemporary Australia. Via Sydney WorldPride Website
1. Art Gallery of New South Wales. Karla Dickens. https://www.artgallery.nsw.gov...
2. Australian Design Centre. Unravelling Queerly. https://australiandesigncentre...
3. Concrete Playground. Dylan Mooney: Blak Superheroes. https://concreteplayground.com...