LGBTQ+ History Month 2022
LGBTQ+ History Month is celebrated in February in the UK every year. It recognises the current struggles faced by the LGBTQ+ community as well as events throughout history that have shaped society today, like the Stonewall Riots.
This year’s theme
The theme this year for LGBTQ+ History Month is ‘Politics in Art: The Arc Is Long’. The “The arc is long” is a quote inspired by Martin Luther King Jr, thought to mean that although it takes time for equality to be achieved, during the process we are moving closer towards social justice and fairness.
In the fight for equality, fine art has served as an emotive communicator, a representation of the LGBTQ+ community’s struggles against homophobia. This LGBTQ+ History Month we will be celebrating and recognising the creativity, imagination and innovation of five LGBTQ+ artists and creators past and present.
We showcased five artists internally and are sharing them here for you to see the amazing impact they have made for the LGBTQ+ community.
Breaking the Barriers
Zanele Muholi is a South African artist and activist who works in photography, video, and installation.
Muholi’s work is dedicated to increasing the visibility of black LGBTQ+ people, especially in Africa, who face extreme levels of violence and discrimination. South Africa and other African countries still have rampant occurrences of homophobic violence, some countries even still inflicting the death penalty for being gay. Muholi aims to uplift LGBTQ+ people in these countries through their work.
Click here to watch a short film from Zanele:
At age 16 he was enrolled at the Bradford school of Art where his work ethic made him stand out from other students. In 1959 he then went to study at the Royal College of Art in London.
Born in 1937 in Bradford, England, Hockney is known for being a painter, photographer, and set designer.
Hockney was an artist who defied generally-accepted social structures and led his life as an openly gay man in a world that systematically oppressed and silenced those who did not conform. At a time when homosexuality was illegal in England, David incorporated allusions to his own homosexuality in his paintings, something viewed as a crime. His bravery and his resilience have inspired other LGBTQ+ artists to openly express themselves through their art in the fight for equality.
Learn more about David’s work here:
Keith was a popular artist and activist who was part of the legendary New York art scene during the 1980s. Compelled to speak for his generation, his art responds to urgent issues including political dictatorship, racism, homophobia, drug addiction, AIDS awareness, capitalism, and the environment.
As an openly gay artist, Haring also chose to represent the hardships of the LGBTQ+ community in his work, including gay rights. Sadly Kieth passed away in 1990, before this he established the Keith Haring Foundation which provides grants to children in need and those affected by HIV/AIDS.
Click here to watch his video about his legacy:
Wu Tsang is transgender performance artist and filmmaker. She was born in 1982 in the United States.
Her work is mostly inspired by activism, communities and party art. In both her practice and everyday life, she intertwines aesthetic performance and political activism, from socially conscious performance and video art to free legal assistance and safe-haven spaces for immigrants and marginalised groups.
Wu Tsang has continued to be an activist for the LGBTQ+ community in many ways, raising awareness for equality and visibility. Her objective is to blend politics with art, with a strong intention of shifting the norms set by a society still too closed-off to non-normative gender and sexual identities.
Click here to watch the inspiration behind Wu Tsang’s work:
Known by his stage name Khansa, Mohamad Al-Khansa is a belly dancer.
He integrates his belly dancing with vocals, recorded music and other forms of performance art. The diverse references in his performances range from religion to art and culture and refer not only to the Lebanese heritage but embrace the Middle East as a whole.
Khansa’s openly queer expression of art aims to break stereotypes of traditional middle eastern values surrounding masculinity. He aims to express power and eroticism through his dancing, inviting a fluid interpretation of gender and using his art as a medium to engage with the social issue of discrimination.
Click here to explore Khansa’s work:
LGBTQ+ History Month Takeover in the office
NKD had the privilege to be joined by special guest, Darkwah for our LGBTQ+ History Month Takeover. Darkwah is a Non-Binary Multi-Disciplinary Artist, Content Creator & Presenter for BET UK.
Darkwah came together with the NKD team via a live and virtual event, sharing their career experiences and stories of moving through workplaces while navigating their queerness.
Here’s how we spent our afternoon…
The event was a chance for our NKD team to listen to Darkwah’s story and engage in a conversational Q&A. From this we gained practical advice and inspiration from Darkwah on how we and the businesses we partner with can do more to create a diverse and inclusive environment.
There is so much more that we all can do to ensure we play our part in making society a more fairer, diverse and inclusive place. For more content on LGBTQ+ History click here.