QUEERCIRCLE, a new dedicated cultural space, providing a permanent home for LGBTQ+ artists and a safe space for the community, opened last week. The space, spearheaded by the ultra talented and eloquent Ashley Joiner opened with an exhibition of work by London-based painter Michaela Yearwood-Dan, including a curved mural installation, alongside a series of ceramic sculptural works. Yearwood-Dan’s work reflects on subjectivity and individual identity as forms of self-determination. Whilst her work may be underpinned by an expansive and multivalent repertoire of cultural signifiers borrowing freely from blackness, healing rituals, flora, texting, acrylic-nails, gold-hoops, carnival culture, these reference points enable her to present and privilege the variance of her own individual experience.
QUEERCIRCLE is an LGBTQ+ led organisation working at the intersection of arts, culture and social action. Designed by David Kohn Architects and situated in the Design District on the Greenwich Peninsula, this new space houses a main gallery, reading room and project space.
“I started Queercircle in 2016 as a way to champion LGBTQ+ artists and bring together the LGBTQ+ community. It was a simple idea that resonated with many, highlighting the desperate need for such a project. After an initial successful launch, it was important to take a step back, reflect and consult artists, curators and community organiser to understand what Queercircle needed to be. This time and process has allowed us to develop a sustainable programme that responds to the needs and aspirations of our community.” Joiner said.
QUEERCIRCLE will programme three seasons a year, each comprising an exhibition by an LGBTQ+ contemporary artist, an archive exhibition and a participatory residency. The first archive exhibition, ‘The Queens’ Jubilee’, celebrates the radical drag queens of the Gay Liberation Front, 50 years after they marched through Central London in 1972 for the first ever Pride in the UK. On display are documentary photography, diary entries and news cuttings, demonstrating the evolution of drag as a way of life.
“I am grateful to everybody that has contributed to this process and supported us in getting to this point. It has been a collective effort of which I am proud to have been a part of and I look forward to continuing.” Joiner concludes.
Image: Installation view from Michaela Yearwood Dan: Let Me Hold You, and from The Queens’ Jubilee, at Queercircle. Photography: © Deniz Guzelat Queercircle. Photography: © Deniz Guzel