Queer view mirror: new exhibition celebrates LGBTI culture

Selected from over 80,000 artworks, a new exhibition celebrates queer culture, history and desire.

Viewing the past through a contemporary lens can be problematic – while England’s King Richard the Lionheart and Rome’s Julius Caesar certainly had sexual and romantic relationships with men, they definitely wouldn’t have described themselves as ‘homosexual’ or ‘gay’, two distinctly contemporary terms for a consciously homo-social identity that emerged in major urban centres from the 18th century onwards.

Recognising this conundrum, a major new exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) uses the umbrella term ‘queer’ to describe its linking of sexual identities past and present.

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Richard Watts is ArtsHub's National Performing Arts Editor; he also presents the weekly program SmartArts on Three Triple R FM, and serves as the Chair of La Mama Theatre's volunteer Committee of Management. Richard is a life member of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, and was awarded the status of Melbourne Fringe Living Legend in 2017. In 2020 he was awarded the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards' Facilitator's Prize. Most recently, Richard was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Green Room Awards Association in June 2021. Follow him on Twitter: @richardthewatts