Hounslow to celebrate LGBTQ+ history month with arts event


LB Hounslow is hosting an online arts event on Tuesday 8 February to celebrate LGBTQ+ history month. The event will look at queer history and heritage and various guest speakers are lined up for the occasion.

It will take place from 5.45pm to 6.45pm. Tickets are free, and the event will be held online.

Hounslow residents will also be able to submit their artwork to the borough’s adult education tutors, who will choose a selection to display at an exhibition scheduled for June 2022.

The online event aims to foster artistic talent in the borough and offer a platform to display local residents’ work. Entrants need not belong to the LGBTQ+ community to submit artwork.

The theme, Politics in Art: ‘The Arc is Long’, will involve portraying the long fight for equality and struggles of LGBTQ+ community against homophobia as well as the empowering and championing of rights for the queer community. All entries will be judged on their composition, originality, technical ability, adherence to the theme and suitability for inclusion in exhibition.

Entrants must be over 18 and must declare any conflicts of interests, such as knowing a member of the judging panel. Other entry requirements include submitting work that has not already been exhibited, avoiding the use of religious or party political symbols, brand logos, slogans and nudity. Group entries will be accepted.

Image above: Freddy Mercury, previously a Hounslow resident, and his blue plaque in Hounslow (BBC News)

Council hopes to ‘nurture artistic talent’ in the borough

Guest speakers include artist Rowan Frewin, museum curator Amy Dobson and Councillor Katherine Dunne.

There is a rich heritage of art in Hounslow to discuss as Amy Dobson, a curator at Gunnersbury Park Museum, explains:

“We want to celebrate local LGBT+ icons like Freddie Mercury and Charles Robert (CR) Ashbee as well as contemporary artists like Rowan Frewin. Everyone knows Freddie as a global rock legend, but he was from Feltham and studied art and fashion, while the hugely influential designer and architect CR Ashbee grew up in Isleworth. Equality is a political issue and has long been expressed through art of all kinds.”

Image above: Covered bowl, designed by Ashbee, 1900; portrait of Ashbee by William Strang, 1903

CR Ashbee (1863 – 1942) was a prime mover of the Arts & Crafts movement.  He is variously described as an ‘entrepreneur’ and ‘social reformer’ as well as a designer and architect. As a craftsman his work included metalwork, textile design, furniture and jewellery.

His family’s dynamic was interesting and illustrative of the time: a conservative father irritated by “the excessive education” of his daughters and his wife’s support of suffragism, from whom Charles, not only gay but a socialist, became estranged.

Cllr Dunne will open the event and is Hounslow Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities. She said:

“I’m looking forward to celebrating LGBT+ History month with this event. We are proud of our diverse communities in Hounslow and we will try and offer a unique learning experience to attendees.”

Above: Rowan Frewin’s artwork posted via their Twitter

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