BEX WADE"THERE CAN BE NO LOVE WITHOUT JUSTICE"
For Pride 2021, Queercircle and BUILDHOLLYWOOD family of JACK, JACK ARTS and DIABOLICAL have teamed up to bring art and demands for social change to the streets of London, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Sheffield.
The selected artists include:
BEX WADE, KGOTLELELO BRADLEY SEKITI, BLACK LODGE PRESS
Bex Wade is a trans non binary DOCUMENTARY photographer based in London. their work FOCUSES on protests, Pride, expressions of otherness and outrage. We spoke to Bex to discuss their chosen artwork, the Black Trans Foundation UK, what Trans Pride means to them, and what role public art plays in raising awareness around social justice movements.
QC: What are some of the central themes you touch upon in your practice?
BW: My work focuses on the documentation of protests and Pride, on expressions of otherness and outrage, in the UK and around the world. In a post-pandemic society, where isolation from community and impending legislation threatens people’s right to protest, powerful images of people taking to the streets are as imperative as ever. As history shows, protests create change. Similarly, queerness embodies that change. As José Esteban Muñoz said, “queerness is a rejection of a here and now and an insistence on potentiality or concrete possibility for another world."
QC: What does Pride mean to you?
BW: The definitive antithesis of, and transgressive remedy to, shame.
QC: What role does public art play in social justice movements?
BW: When art resides in a museum or gallery, the public must choose (and often, pay) to engage with it. In the public realm, however, access is expanded. And that accessibility is key. With an opportunity of engagement fuelled by happenstance as participation, public art is present as much for the single passerby as a whole community. Through these catalysts of inclusion and exposure, public art inherently elevates the possibilities of its interior message to a higher plane of consideration and contemplation.
QC: What are your hopes for this billboard campaign?
BW: There would not be an anxiety about the future if it were certain, and whilst a billboard or Instagram story infographic or a sign at a protest does the explicit work of broadcasting, it carries within it the uncertainty of success. I practically and sincerely hope the billboard campaign raises the profile of the vulnerable and serves as a call to arms. Visibility does not equate to security. Even so, these billboards will provide an opportunity for this public witnessing. I cannot emphasise enough that I want to think about the witness; this witnessing is the link that lets us recover and project the queer history that we will eventually become.
As history shows, protests create change.
QC: What campaign have you chosen to highlight?
QC: Why have you chosen to highlight the Black Trans Foundation UK?
BW: Although my work covers many intersections of protest and causes, as a non-binary trans person I have lived experience of the urgency to protest trans rights, the consistent questioning of the validity of my gender, and the sustained media attack against trans people in the UK. This year violence against trans people has increased by 300%. Globally this onslaught of discrimination and assault disproportionately affects Black and Brown trans women of colour, the same demographic who paved the way of queer liberation through their protest.
ABOUT BLACK TRANS FOUNDATION
Black Trans Foundation is a non-profit organisation working for the social advancement of Black trans people in the UK. We are building a world where Black trans and gender-nonconforming people have the same access to healthcare and opportunities as their cisgender counterparts.
ACTION TO TAKE
Donate to the Black Trans Therapy Fund to provide free therapy to at least 10 Black trans people in the UK for a minimum of 4 months. These funds not only help provide more therapy spaces but also allow the Foundation to transform an emergency community response into a long-term health service for Black trans people in the UK.
Bex Wade is a trans non binary photographer based in London. For several years their work has focused on protests and Pride, expressions of otherness and outrage. Bex documented nightclubs and parties throughout the LGBTQI+ scenes in the UK and New York for over a decade, and sought to archive the culture and community of these much needed spaces. As these environments have faced an increasing demise, forms of expression and gathering have shifted back to the streets. Bex and their camera have followed.
Wade’s work has consistently sought to make explicit the otherwise underrepresented stories of queer alienation, threats to queer communion; exploring the exposure of these narratives against the performed expectation of a cisheteronormative society. Wade ultimately seeks to go beyond Pride solely as an antithesis to shame. They work within the realm of queer futurities informed by protest and the discourse it generates, augmenting the people they photograph into a narrative of collective rage and a shared desire for change.