Whilst the current migrant crisis has seen people fleeing war torn countries to find a safehaven on our European shores, ‘Queer Crossings’ takes a closer look into the lives of people fleeing other forms of persecution and violence through an exhibition of artworks currently on display in the Brighthelm Centre.
The work explores the lives of gay and lesbian migrants and refugees living in South Africa, having escaped other parts of the continent for persecution of being, simply, who they are. Using the migrant’s own artworks, the exhibition is a poignant and emotive display of colourful sketch-like drawings and creative writings. Each of the migrants, who identify as LGBTIQ, tell their story using a pseudonym for fear of further vilification. Whilst some of the words speak of the sheer joy of heart-palpitating love, others are enough to make our own rainbow city shudder.
The exhibition was organised by the University of Sussex’s Migrating Out Of Poverty research consortium in conjunction with the African Centre for Migration & Society at South Africa’s University of Witwatersrand. Professor L.Alan Winters, leader of the Sussex consortium, said of the exhibition: “Migrants are too often thought of just as numbers, but this exhibition illustrates their humanity and their diversity”. It’s exactly this human kindness that we need to consider when thinking about the current wave of migration.
Brighthelm Centre, 7th-18th September 2015
Words by Francesca Moore