By Oliver O'Brien
A massive canvas is strung across the walls, revolving a table overflowing with art supplies, creating a tempting invitation for creatives visiting the LGBTQ2S space. No instructions, no guidance, just a paintbrush and your thoughts. With this event, Luminato aims to open up the conversation about artistic freedom and expression and hopefully, have the last word.
Exploring the canvases you can find all types of work: the two-spirited symbol, a silhouette of a person twerking, fireworks, the CN Tower, strong words of encouragement, somber messages to a lost lover, rainbow coloured hearts, etc. People from all walks of life can be seen adding their creations to the massive mural. Children from the 519’s youth program to established artists have added their mark. Talking to some of the contributors, they revealed stories of grieving for lost friends and loves, tales of courage against discrimination and inner demons haunting them for years. It is clear the LGBTQ2S community has been fighting an uphill battle for acceptance and peace, for what seems like an eternity.
In 1988, Robert Mapplethorpe faced censorship for his evocative work exploring queer sexuality. His work sparked a national conversation about the public funding of art, which in turn, was a conversation about homophobia and the gatekeeping of art. Today, Luminato festival wants to make sure no voice is left unheard and invites the community to freely create, as they wish to celebrate resistance. Luminato asks patrons: "What does grieving, rising and resisting mean to you?"
This event also celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. These riots are seen as the seed planted for groups and events such as The Gay Liberation Front, The Gay Activists Alliance, and The Gay Pride March.
Last week, a lesbian couple was attacked and robbed in London by 5 teenagers, who turned violent when the couple wouldn't kiss for their enjoyment. An event of freedom of expression for the LGBTQ2S couldn't come at a better time, as it is clear that in the modern world homophobia is, unfortunately, alive and well. This event and the Luminato festival exist to celebrate the resistance against homophobia and the censorship of your true self.
*Editor’s Note: VIBE105 is the Community Media Partner of Luminato Festival 2019