The Body is More Than This (26 Jan – 12 Feb), curated by Kin Francis, presents visual narratives from six artists who identify as gender diverse and nonbinary. Works in this exhibition permeate across many ideas, from reckoning with histories of migration, experimenting with gender expression outside of Western restraints, and defining relationships with lands and family across distances. Caleb Thaiday is Meriam from the Eastern Torres Strait Islands of Mer and Erub and grew up on Yidinji country in Cairns.
After completing a Bachelor of Music Technology at Griffith University in Brisbane, they went freelance in FNQ as an audio engineer, sound designer, videographer and composer. Now living on Kulin land since mid-2018, Caleb is a drag performer under the stage name Cerulean. Cerulean is the current reigning Miss First Nation 2021. She is an expressive blue gem who descended from the Pisces constellation to bless mere mortals with a raining cloud of excitement, energy and fun! Her body morphs into an ensemble of contrasting forms, exploring performance through concepts.
Surrounded by the pillars and architecture of the Immigration Museum’s ground floor – Caleb Thaiday, Elijah Money, Luce Nguyễn-Hunt, Ari Tampubolon, Indra Liusuari and Kin Francis propose a new way of experiencing our bodies; seeing past borders: beyond preconceived cisgender identity and colonial understandings.
Elijah Money is a queer Wiradjuri brotherboy who was raised on Kulin Nations where he continues to reside. His practice includes visual art, written work, installations, performance art and more. These are done with strong recurring themes of colonialism, assimilation, skin colour, gender, mental illness, sexuality, climate change, stolen generations, identity as well as critiquing the Eurocentric western idealised structure that each person in so called “Australia” is forced to maintain. Notable highlights include: co-curating “Sight for Sore Eyes” 2020 (Midsumma X Black Dot); video artwork for “ALIWA!” 2021 at Counihan Gallery; participant for Writing Residency and hosted “Deadly Poets Yarn” 2020 (MPavilion).
Kin Francis is an independent artist exploring queer futurity and disobedience through the various lenses of their work as a creative producer, writer, events organiser and DJ. Over the past decade as an arts worker they have been involved with 30 or so organisations such as Arts Centre Melbourne, Transgender Victoria, Next Wave and Multicultural Arts Victoria. Kin is currently developing music events for queer community members who are neurodiverse and/or Disabled. Midsumma Festival is proud to present its program for 2023, bringing a kaleidoscope of preeminent queer arts and cultural festivities from 21 January – 12 February. Celebrating the LGBTQIA+ communities since 1988, Midsumma Festival is an explosion of over 200 events showcasing queer culture, featuring local, interstate, and international artists in spectacular performances, talks and social events.
New for 2023 is A Safe(R) Space, comprising of 21 works, is an artistic exploration of intersectional identity between different facets of queer communities. The program will look at what defines a safe space for artists and communities, uncovering a range of work from artists across the LGBTQIA+ spectrum and how artists come together to collaborate and create within a resourced environment. “It’s been a joy and a journey for all of us to work with the artists, venues, and producers from the A Safe(R) Space program to explore the provocation of safer spaces and what this means to peoples form our LGBTQIA+ communities. We look forward to watching this wide range of events explore the concept of “safer spaces” and illuminate how it can be vastly different for individual members of our diverse communities.” – Brendan Cooney, Program Manager – Midsumma