Support and Celebrate this Mardi Gras
With Australia still celebrating the YES vote, we’ve got no doubt that Sydney’s upcoming Mardi Gras Parade on March 3 will be the biggest one yet.
Of course, at times like this, it’s also important to remember the historical adversity that the LGBTQIA+ community has faced in the past and continues to face today.
In the name of both support and celebration, Bluethumb artist George Hall has created several pieces relating to marriage equality and LGBTQIA+ rights and culture in general.
According to George, his strategy when it comes to achieving something that he really wants is to envisage a positive outcome through drawing, which is exactly what he has done with these pieces. We’ve partnered with George to donate 20% of profits made from these prints to Silver Rainbow, a charity dedicated to older members of the queer community.
As George explains, Silver Rainbow aims to help those older members of the LGBTQIA+ community who may be struggling emotionally or financially. “As it is,” he says, “many of these people in our community have missed out on the security of recognised relationships and the emotional and financial advantages that go with that. There are many older LGBTQIA+ people who live in poverty in Australia, especially women who have had to endure the horrendous inequality in wages, men who could never get ahead after losing their partners to AIDS and those who have suffered from mental illness, exacerbated by hostility within the general public.”
“I think that artists make excellent activists for social issues,” says George when we asked him about his idea to support the community through art. “Generally they’re really passionate people.”
George advocating for action against HIV.
“Great art and great passion often comes from adversity,” George continues. “Artists are often different from others, which means they are often told they’re wrong. For example, at school I was interested in art and gymnastics, and I was called a ‘sissy.’ Being different, you have to push through adversity, which means that you gain a certain amount of strength. Plus, practicing art can be a real emotional outlet in those times. When I get stressed, I draw.”
George Hall with a supportive fan at a recent exhibition.
“I’m really inspired by several LGBTQIA+ artists. For example, I am a huge fan of David Hockney. His work is so diverse, and he’s never let his identity be compromised – he’s never hidden the fact that he’s gay. I’m also deeply inspired by Keith Haring, who showed incredible strength during the AIDS crisis. Again, it’s a story of success in the face of adversity.”
Garden With Blue Terrace (2015) by David Hockney. Image source: New York Times.
“In these pieces,” says George, “I’m trying to come from an angle of fun, humour and positivity. That’s how we tend to do things in our community; politics and humour are a powerful combination.”
Fashion Inspired Artwork for Melbourne Fashion Festival