Queer + Metals – exhibition continues at MAC

Panel discussion as part of LGBT+ History Month.

{Queer} + {Metals} is a Craftspace exhibition co-curated by its Director Deirdre Figueiredo and Dauvit Alexander artist and tutor at Birmingham City University’s School of Jewellery in collaboration with artist Rebekah Frank.

The exhibition, which opened last year at Midlands Arts Centre in Birmingham, and runs until April, uses the lens of metalworking to explore the multiplicity of queerness – whether as identity, lived experiences, thinking, cultures, aesthetic, influences, stories, place, and imagination – in relation to metalwork and metalsmithing.

Eight UK artists are represented physically in the exhibition, whilst international artists who participated in Rebekah Frank’s digital residency are represented through an Instagram campaign and video interviews. Frank devised an online survey to gather perspectives from around the world. Respondents answered questions about what it means to be a queer, how queer-ness and metal-ness overlap and whether it matters. 119 responses were received from every continent except Antarctica!

Dauvit Alexander’s Walk Like a Man (Sex Crime) cod piece was made in response to a mass shooting at a gay club in Orlando. A gun is sliced up into lace-like fragments, studded with pink gems and re-assembled as camp disco-wear thus rendering it useless.

Gilbert Hadden, an alumni of BCU School of Jewellery, presents a set of knives produced at a traumatic time of coming out as transgender. He says, “My mind cannot hold the person I was in those first few months of living as the new me, so instead, he is captured in this collection… Safely harboured in the hard, cold steel of these blades is a young, lost queer soul, and in bearing the weapons he made to protect himself from the world, I think I can finally reach him.”

Fei He, an alumni of BCU School of Jewellery, Annie Higgins and Theo Somerville-Scott all explore gender fluidity. Fei He combines body adornment with drag art and Higgins’ abstract forged steel figurines suggest androgynous human torsos, whilst Somerville-Scott’s colourful flocked and powder-coated sculpture is inspired by Virginia Woolf’s novel Orlando.

Roxanne Simone’s welded and hydroformed ‘imperfect’ objects explore and reimagine identities formed through the impact of diaspora and migration.

Deirdre Figueiredo MBE, Director, Craftspace said, “Dauvit, Rebekah and myself identify as LGBTQ+ as part of our intersectional identities, making this project a personal and collective endeavour. We are proud to occupy public space in presenting this work. We want to provide the opportunity for a wider audience to become more aware of diverse cultures and for LGBTQIA+ visitors to feel included.”

There will be a free panel discussion on 2nd February 2023, 6.30pm – 8.30pm at MAC as part of the UK LGBT+ History Month 2023. San Francisco based artist Rebekah Frank will chair an online conversation with three US artists. UK based artist and academic Daniel Fountain who is writing a book on ‘Queer Craft’ will join exhibiting artists Roxanne Simone and Dauvit Alexander on the physical panel at MAC.

This international panel discussion will ask how do ‘queerness’ and metalsmithing intersect and explore ideas of transformation and the way materials and processes can be ‘queered’ or reflect ‘queerness’.

The exhibition is free to visit in the Community Gallery at MAC and open daily from 10am till 9pm. Information and tickets for events here.