Catalyst Arts February-March 2021 Publication launch summer 2021(tbc)
Day Magee, Jennifer Mehigan, Padraig Regan, Yarli Allison, Richard Martin, Claire Biddles, Bassam Al-Sabah, Phillip McCrilly, Ben Malcolmson, Richard O’Leary, Ruth McCarthy, the LGBTQIA+ youth Steering Committee at Ulster Museums and Shy Bairns.
by Thomas Wells
Sam’s Eden brings together a collection of queer writers, artists, poets, printers and programmers working internationally within an exhibition in printed matter. The project responds to the continuing effects of Coronavirus restrictions adapting to new spaces to engage audiences and to promote the work of practitioners.
Sam’s Eden is a physical artefact of queer practice in 2021. Running in conjunction with LGBTQ+ History Month, Sam’s Eden focuses on methods of communication and the occupation of space, from the use of coded language before decriminalisation, to the navigation of virtual realms, and through to the layered symbolism of contemporary art and literature. All contributors to Sam’s Eden are part of the wider LGBTQIA+ community and through their work continually ask questions about Queer occupation of ‘Straight’ space, in music, art, literature, and beyond. It is a pleasure to ask each and every one of these individuals to contribute to this ‘snap shot’ of queer history following in the printsteps of Belfast’s Pink Press pioneers. I have had the pleasure to either know or work closely with all of them and am honoured to be able to bring them together as part of my final project with Catalyst Arts.
Sam’s Eden has facilitated the collaboration of queer artists to create six individual projects; the aim was to introduce and pair together practitioners who work with similar themes and to hopefully cultivate new friendships in the midst of a global pandemic. The project will be working closely with Ulster Museums Reimagine, Remake and Replay project in the formation of an LGBTQIA+ youth steering committee who will work on BIG QUEER PLINTH an engagement project looking at visible queer history in museum collections. As part of the project there will be a number of virtual events; an original performance from storyteller Richard O’Leary, and screenings of work by Day Magee and Yarli Allison. Follow @catalystarts on Instagram and Twitter for more details, or visit our website at www.catalystarts.org.uk/whatson