Art against nazis, homophobia and austerity

This video says about itself:

Feb 11, 2011

Audio visuals and behind the scenes of Gomez de Villaboa photo shoots in Milk and Lead gallery with the stunning pieces of art of Iris Schieferstein, all video and editing by Pablo Taran de Regil whose work is invaluable.

By Emmanouil Balomenos:

Resisting the hatred fuelled by austerity

Tuesday 29 January 2013

Throughout Europe people are battling with the policies of austerity and the resulting unemployment, rising poverty and political instability.

In countries such as Spain and Greece, where the unemployment rate has risen to 26.6 per cent and 26 per cent respectively, people feel that government-imposed austerity is unbearable, condemning their countries to years of painful cuts and job losses.

Social suffering, insecurity and turmoil have given rise to fascism and xenophobia in countries hit by austerity policies and recession.

The Greek situation is particularly dramatic. Far-right party Golden Dawn, which until recently has been marginal, has surged in popularity. In last June’s parliamentary elections it gained a 6.92 per cent share of the national vote.

It also came third in several opinion polls, after the conservative New Democracy and pro-EU left-wing party Syriza.

LGBTQ communities in countries such as Greece are facing an alarming rise in the number of violent homophobic attacks and hate crimes, which are strongly related to the rise and empowerment of far-right parties.

It is not only the LGBTQ community that is affected – attacks on ethnic minorities are also increasing.

And police corruption and brutality is another face of the rise of fascism.

The Greek government recently used riot police to raid worker occupations in Athens in an effort to restore “law and order.”

Polls indicate that approximately half the Greek police force supports the Golden Dawn.

Recession, austerity policies, unemployment and oppression have made the situation insufferable for many young people in Europe, some of whom decide to relocate to other countries such as Britain. Many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people are among those who flee.

LGBTQ people Britain need to be aware that what Greece is experiencing today, they may face tomorrow. The long queues for food in cities such as Barcelona are now a reality here in Britain too as poverty rises.

So to mark February as LGBT History Month, Unite London & Eastern LGBT committee and Sertuc LGBT network are holding an exhibition of new work by the Spanish photographer Francisco Gomez De Villaboa.

The exhibition is a celebration of the contribution that young LGBTQ people, from countries hit hard by austerity policies – Greece, Spain, Italy, Cyprus, Ireland and Portugal – have made to the queer scene in London and the south-east.

It consists of portrait photographs of some of them, such as the Cypriot London-based artist Hermes Pittakos and longstanding Irish activist Joseph Healey, currently a leading light in Queers Against the Cuts.

Francisco himself is part of the LGBTQ scene, his art being part of such landmarks as the Joiners Arms and Antagony night club, along with recording works by queer performance artists.

The exhibition aims to raise awareness of the contribution these people made to the LGBTQ scene and also to be a sign of solidarity to our LGBTQ sisters and brothers in those countries.

Furthermore, we aim to draw inspiration and urgency to our own resistance to the austerity policies of the Tories, which are wreaking havoc on our communities, and impacting on the LGBTQ scene here in London.

Emmanouil Balomenos is an LGBTQ activist from Greece.

The photographs by Francisco Gomez De Villaboa, curated by David Sharkey (Unite London & Eastern Region LGBT committee), will be on display at Unite House, 128 Theobald’s Rd, London WC1, from 6.30pm on February 4, with a presentation by Rachel Newton of the Greece Solidarity Campaign.

During the 80s, transgender Greek artist and prostitute Paola Revenioti published the trans-anarchist fanzine Kraximo. Funded by her own prostitution, the zine pioneered the fight for gay and trans rights, combining interviews with Greek poets and intellectuals alongside Athens street hustlers and her own photography, since compared to the work of Larry Clark and Walter Pfeiffer. Today she continues to work as an artist and activist, making Athens-based documentaries with her “Paola Projects”. This interview is taken from the May issue of Dazed & Confused: here.

5 thoughts on “Art against nazis, homophobia and austerity

  1. Pingback: Art against nazis, homophobia and austerity | Mental Health, Politics and LGBT issues |

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