🏳️‍🌈 ARTISTS TALK - Irrepressible: Creativity and Queer Resistance

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FREE: Join me as these nationally renowned LGBTQ2+ local artists discuss queer history & learn how art can transcends violence & oppression . Also, meet The Pansy Project's Paul Harfleet (UK)


CUAG and Qu’ART - Queer Arts Collective Ottawa are pleased to invite you to “Irrepressible: Creativity and Queer Resistance.” This is a free, public conversation featuring Barry Ace, Paul Harfleet and Carl Stewart, moderated by Cara Tierney, co-presented by CUAG and Qu’ART. It is organized In advance of 2019 International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.

The conversation takes place on 15 May from 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. (doors open at 6:00 p.m.) in Woodside Hall at Carleton Dominion-Chalmers Centre, located at the corner of Lisgar and O’Connor Streets (enter off Lisgar Street). It is a fully accessible space.

Four renowned LGBTQ2+ artists will discuss what roles can and do artists play in building resistance to homophobia, transphobia and biphobia and in raising our voices against past approaches to LGBTQ2+ history. This conversation and community gathering is unprecedented in Ottawa, and a timely reflection on the ways artists, and their practices, reclaim queer narratives and work for social justice. Local artists of all generations and any artistic discipline are especially welcome to attend and discuss their own creative approaches against injustice and targeted oppression in the Q&A following the discussion.

2019 marks two notable anniversaries in local queer history: the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalization of gay sex and the 30th anniversary of the death of Alain Brosseau - an infamous hate crime that prompted Ottawa local authorities to (finally) address anti-gay violence. While the advancements in queer rights that resulted from these events are often constructed as celebratory moments that signal positive change, the invitation to celebrate has been met with critical apprehension by the LGBTQ2+ community. These institutional performances of solidarity are too often led by state-run agencies or police-led committees.

Alongside this tenuous history of institutional action, visual artists lead the way in facilitating practices of commemoration, creative reflection and critical questioning of past and present violence, while providing spaces where the possibilities for dialogue and healing find nuanced expression. Barry Ace, Paul Harfleet and Carl Stewart join moderator Cara Tierney to discuss how their own work has resonated with queer communities on personal and international levels. Their artistic practices address issues that create social change and intersect with queer experience.

Carleton University Art Gallery acknowledges its location on the traditional, unceded territories of the Algonquin Nation.

Qu’ART - Queer Arts Collective Ottawa is grateful to CUAG for its support in co-presenting this event, and acknowledges that all activity by local artists connected to The Pansy Project’s visit to Canada is made possible through support by the City of Ottawa’s Diversity In The Arts Fund.


Barry Ace is a visual artist who currently lives in Ottawa. He is a band member of M’Chigeeng First Nation, Odawa Mnis (Manitoulin Island), Ontario. His mixed media paintings and assemblage textile works explore various aspects of cultural continuity and the confluence of the historical and contemporary. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and is housed in many prominent collections - National Gallery of Canada; Canadian Museum of History; Art Gallery of Ontario; Royal Ontario Museum; Ojibwe Cultural Foundation (M’Chigeeng, Ontario); Global Affairs Canada and Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada.

Based in London, UK, Paul Harfleet is an artist, writer and designer. He has been planting pansies at sites of homophobia since 2005 through The Pansy Project. He brings The Pansy Project to Ottawa (May 5-20), which marks its first visit to Canada. To date he has planted almost 300 individual pansies at sites of homophobia. His photographs have been exhibited internationally, including in Berlin, Paris, London and Manchester, where Harfleet devised the project.

Carl Stewart is a weaver and filmmaker living and working in Ottawa. He has participated in solo and group exhibitions across Canada and the United States. He has received professional grants from the City of Ottawa, the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts. His work is included in the collections of the City of Ottawa, the Canada Council Art Bank and the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, NY.

Cara Tierney (pronoun they/them) is an artist, curator and educator. Proudly trans, Tierney is a PhD Candidate in Cultural Mediations at the Institute for Comparative Studies in Literature, Arts and Culture at Carleton University. Tierney teaches History and Theory of Art at the University of Ottawa and regularly provides consultation and training regarding gender equity in light of recent provincial and federal human rights legislations.