On Saturday, Jan 8, Gallery 101 will screen A Fire in My Belly in solidarity against censorship of the film.
Glenn Crawford, chair of The Village and a Gallery 101 staff member, received the film from HideSeek, an organization responsible for overseeing the protest screenings. Crawford had been following the controversy and became passionate about the need to show the film in Ottawa.
“Censorship in any art form, whether it is literature or visual art, is something that I find pretty deplorable,” he says.
Wojnarowicz's film was originally part of an exhibition, Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington. It is the first major museum exhibition to focus on how artists explore the fluidity of sexuality, the role of sexual difference in depicting modern America, how art is affected by social marginalization and how art reflects society’s evolving and changing attitudes.
Just months after the exhibition opened in October 2010, the Smithsonian caved under pressure from the religious right, which deemed the video anti-Christian. The museum was ultimately forced by the US House GOP Leaders John Boehner and Eric Cantor to remove the film from the exhibition.
After the film’s removal, museums around the world stepped in, showing the film as a protest against censorship. A Fire in My Belly is described as “a poetic meditation on man, life, death, faith and suffering,” made in part as a response to the AIDS-related death of Wojnarowicz's lover, artist Peter Hujar.
Screenings of A Fire in My Belly will be held at Gallery 101, 301 1/2 Bank St, Unit 1 on Saturday, Jan 8 at 7:30pm or 8pm. A $5 suggested donation will go to the AIDS Committee of Ottawa. A cash bar, refreshments and snacks will be available.