Greenfield Arts are privileged to welcome back Richard Bliss to The Greenfield Gallery. His exhibition is a thought provoking and insightful window into the history and identity of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Richard is a renowned collaborative artist and tailor who has exhibited widely across the region and is well respected in his ability to share voices and raise profiles in an imaginative and creative way. The exhibition immerses you into the lives and thoughts of those involved in the collaboration which includes inspiration from students and the wider community.
“I created Our Voice after working with a group of LGBTQIA+ students from Greenfield Community College. I was surprised how their life experiences were so similar to LGBTQIA+ people of my generation. How our coming out stories were similar, our feelings about being part of a community were often the same, and how hard it was to describe what it really means to feel safe in our tribe.” said Richard
The project began as a venture into a non-binary world where the students left the trappings of modern life and social media behind as a means to explore identity. Everybody involved took time to write letters and create objects that question our thinking in a digital world that has become such a part of our everyday. The collaboration has inspired an exhibition that calls upon these principles in a beautifully imaginative way, bringing together political and emotional aspects in a single space.
“The show is deliberately monochrome, for people in many parts of the country, and in many countries in the world LGBTQIA+ life isn’t all about rainbows. In the UK many businesses dress themselves in rainbow colours during the Pride month of July, but those same companies do nothing to stand with LGBTQIA+ people when they do business in Qatar, Nigeria or Russia.”
“As I started to listen to, and then recording, the young people as we made things in our craft sessions, I realised there was a sense in which we all shared this idea that we built a community of support out of our words…I have never been able to explain to people outside our community how it feels to be in it. That was another thing that came through in all the interviews, this sense of connection to other LGBTQIA+ people, people who we hardly know feel part of our lives” said Richard.
The exhibition includes objects and soundscapes that reflect the handmade features of the past with painted banners and scribbled leaflets accompanying the ‘tent’ installation. Here you can immerse yourself in Our Voice at the same time reflecting upon the journey to the present and hope for the future.
“I’m not sure what Our Voice is, or where in history it is located. It is a show that time travels, both through the testimonies of the LGBTQIA+ people who feature in the soundscape, and in the banners that recall campaigns of times gone by and the present day. The temporary structures in Our Voice are an attempt to translate ephemeral feelings into material objects. All the objects have been created from the words of our community.” Said Richard
The exhibition is currently on display in The Greenfield Gallery and will run until Wednesday 26 October 2022 and should not be missed.
Greenfield Arts are committed to offering high quality arts activity that helps stimulate creativity, questioning and enquiry. If you would like to know more about us just visit www.greenfield-arts.co.uk or contact our friendly team on 01325 379048 or email [email protected]