Gaywise FESTival 2011 commences amid declarations of support
London’s premier LGBT cross-arts festival Gaywise FESTival 2011, or GFEST, opened last night with an impressive turnout at the Barbican’s Dreamspace Gallery (EC1Y 8NA), exhibiting work by artists such as Jason C Woodson, Francesca Alaimo, Paul Kindersley, Boa Swindler, and Simon Croft.
Taking place annually in November in various venues across London, and organised by arts charity Wise Thoughts, GFEST provides a platform for ‘lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) and queer artists, organisations and venues to promote LGBT and queer arts’. The diverse program features ‘established alongside fresh or young LGBT artists and queer talent across the arts’, including visual arts, theatre, dance and performance, LGBT short films, debates, workshops and parties.
GFEST director Niranjan Kamatkar was pleased with last night’s turnout, stating that ‘Despite the massive funding crunch this year, I am delighted with the audience turnout and hope people turn up in huge numbers at the rest of the events.’ He added that ‘GFEST has become a great fun event again this year’ but ‘We need everyone to turn up at the events to show their support and to make this event successful’.
The signs are good, and GFEST has powerful friends, with a number of key politicians voicing their support: including the Vice Chairman Conservative Party Margot James, who describes the festival as ‘an excellent forum for encouraging new artists as well as established acts’; and Leader of the Green Party Caroline Lucas, who finds ‘the diversity and creativity behind the festival … truly inspiring’, and sees the programme of events as ‘a wonderful opportunity to showcase and celebrate LGBT artists and performers’. Also endorsing the festival is the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport Rt. Hon. Jeremy Hunt, who applauds GFEST as ‘a fantastic platform not just for the LGBT community but also for London and for the arts’.
Supporters, furthermore, are by no means confined to the commons; while Steven Fry is ‘Proud and happy to support GFEST … which does so much to promote the work of LGBT artists everywhere’, human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell sees GFEST as ‘the frontline of queer culture, articulating our identities, experiences, triumphs and tragedies’, and commands all Londoners to ‘Go see’. We must oblige.
For full programme and booking information please visit: http://www.gaywisefestival.org.uk