Arts & Entertainment
3 min

Get your culture on at WorldPride

A guide to cool art happenings in Toronto

Tourist Trap, by Attila Richard Lukacs.

Pansexual orgies, gay cruises, parking-lot piss-ups, historical tours, kid-friendly face-painting sessions — WorldPride offers all manner of celebration and expression of what it’s like to be queer. However, the people perhaps best equipped to express this state are artists, and luckily quite a few of them — of both the local and international varieties — are putting on art shows during the festivities. 

Camp Fires: The Queer Baroque

Like dear ol’ grandma in leather jackboots swingin’ a cat-o’-nine-tails, the Gardiner Museum’s Camp Fires: The Queer Baroque exhibit takes innocuous objects like candlesticks, teapots and vases and transforms them into erotic and compelling statements about sexuality. By looking at the concept of “camp” in the work of francophone Canadian ceramic artists Léopold L Foulem, Paul Mathieu and Richard Milette, the exhibit portrays subversive notions of queer identity. 

Camp Fires: The Queer Baroque runs until Mon, Sept 1, at the Gardiner Museum, 111 Queen’s Park Cr. gardinermuseum.on.ca 

Bent Lens: Pride on Screen

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and Inside Out LGBT Film Festival’s joint summer program, Bent Lens: Pride on Screen, explores queer stories through the past, present and future of cinema. Included are the Queer Outlaw Cinema program, a free gallery exhibition, retrospectives, special events, free outdoor screenings and special guests that include transgender advocate
Laverne Cox and writer/director/performer John Cameron Mitchell. 

Bent Lens: Pride on Screen runs until Sun, Aug 17. tiff.net/bentlens

Over the Rainbow: Seduction and Identity

Drawn from the private collection of Salah Bachir and Jacob Yerex, this exhibit acknowledges the archetypes associated with queer culture — like camp, celebrity and rainbows — and looks beyond to the ways that queer culture and mainstream representations of that culture influence each other. The show comprises paintings, drawings and photographs and includes works by Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Stephen Andrews and Annie Leibovitz. 

Over the Rainbow: Seduction and Identity runs until Sun, Aug 17, at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 952 Queen St W. mocca.ca

Ross Watson WorldPride Exhibition

Ross Watson has no shortage of admirers: Stephen Fry said, “Oh goodness — your works get sexier and sexier and more and accomplished — lost in admiration!” Sir Elton John said, “I never tire of his paintings — he’s a leader in contemporary realism.” The Australian artist’s work fuses classical European art references with contemporary images and deals with sexuality, religion and the impact of social media. The Toronto exhibit includes Watson’s sexy surf twins and lifeguards. 

Ross Watson WorldPride Exhibition runs until Sun, June 29 at IX Gallery, 11 Davies Ave, Unit 101. rosswatson.com 

Just Me and Allah: Photographs of Queer Muslims

“Mainstream Islam isn’t always welcoming of LGBTQ Muslims, yet a lot of the Muslim traditions and rituals bring queer Muslims comfort and provide a sense of belonging,” visual artist Samra Habib says. From people celebrating Muslim traditions in queer spaces to incorporating Muslim symbolism into everyday life, Habib’s video interviews and photographs give an intimate sense of how some queer people navigate their complicated relationships with Islam. 

Just Me and Allah: Photographs of Queer Muslims runs until Wed, July 9, at Parliament Street Library, 269 Gerrard St; Sun, Oct 5, at the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives, 34 Isabella St; and Thurs, July 10–Mon, July 14, at Videofag, 187 Augusta Ave. queermuslimproject.tumblr.com 

Youth Solidarity Project

As part of an initiative by the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Michaëlle Jean Foundation to promote safe, inclusive and healthy communities for queer youth, young people aged 14 to 30 were asked to submit artwork on the theme of “solidarity with Canada’s two-spirit and LGBTTIQQ* communities.” On May 14, a vote was held to decide whose work best reflects the theme; the work of the six finalists is on display during WorldPride. 

The Youth Solidarity Project exhibition runs until Sat, Nov 15, at the Art Gallery of Ontario, 317 Dundas St W. youthsolidarityproject.ca

The Hit Parade

Curated by the Transmission Commission Collective, Hit Parade is an exhibition of visual art that responds to problems affecting queer communities globally, including legal and psychological issues and physical violence. The exhibition includes work by both local and international artists, and a percentage of proceeds from sale of the works will benefit the Will Munro Memorial Fund for Queers Living with Cancer. 

Hit Parade runs until Sun, July 6, at p|m Gallery, 1518 Dundas St W. pmgallery.ca

Imaging Home: Resistance, Migration, Contradiction

In Uganda, Kenya, Guyana, the Caribbean, India, Toronto — across the globe — queer people have felt oppression. Through documentary video and photographic work, the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives’ Imaging Home: Resistance, Migration, Contradiction tells a captivating story of the challenges queer people have faced around the world. The event includes several guest speakers, including Ulelli Verbeke, Namela Baynes-Henry, Richard Lusimbo and Brayo Bryans. 

Imaging Home: Resistance, Migration, Contradiction runs until Sun, Oct 5, at the CLGA, 34 Isabella St. clga.ca