Art to question what it means to be queer

A new exhibition exploring what it means to be queer will go on display at the University of Dundee this month.

‘The Queer Dot’ which will feature artwork from current students and graduates relating to lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, trans, non-binary and queer experiences, will open to the public on Monday 22nd April at 5.30pm.

The exhibition, designed and put together by eleven students from the University’s Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design (DJCAD), invites the public to look at life through a queer lens and question what they think they know about ‘being queer’.

“Queer has a complicated past,” said student curator Steven Sheath Wilson.

“It has led to key moments in history such as the Stonewall riots and the reclaiming of the Pink triangle, which was at first a mark of shame but then reappropriated as a symbol of positive identity. Queer rights and queer-identifying people have always been around in history but it’s just often missing from the history books.

“We hope our exhibition will shed light on contemporary queer concerns. The title itself is a play on the phrase ‘the year dot’, meaning the first day in history, drawing attention to the fact that queer people, however, marginalised and isolated from society, have always been around and will continue to be.”

The exhibition, which is a Student Curatorial Team project supported by Cooper Gallery, will open with a live panel discussion on what it means to be queer in 2019.

Chaired by DJCAD student Cal Kaha McKeon, the panel will include former graduate and creator of the Trans Sport Initiative in Dundee, Alex Muir, the convenor of Trans Pride Scotland, Alex Robin Gardner, podcasters Sekai Machache and Matthew Dowdall, PhD student Margarita Kalamara as well as the Head of Exhibitions at the Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA), Eoin Dara.

Excited to explore the modern-day themes of the queer spectrum, Eoin said, “Queer identity and discourse is happily in constant flux, so a discussion on what it means to be queer is one that will always be important. With conservative and right-wing rhetoric and activity on the rise across Europe, it feels vital right now to be actively participating in conversations concerning and highlighting marginalised voices.

“Queer people are still rarely afforded the opportunity to speak openly and safely in public, so it's up to educational and civic institutions like the University of Dundee and DCA to create safe spaces and platforms that can nurture and amplify these voices."

Tickets for the panel discussion and preview of The Queer Dot are free, however, early arrival is recommended.

The Queer Dot will go on display in the Cooper Gallery Project Space which is located on the ground floor of Cooper Gallery at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design. The space has ramped access and a disabled toilet.