An exhibition of photographic portraits archiving Margate’s LGBTQIA+ community by Elissa Cray
PV Friday 6th August, 6-8pm
Open 10th – 13th August, 12-4pm
Then 14th – 15th August, 12-6pm
The art of the archive is essential in cultivating lineages and histories of communities that are often unseen, ignored or marginalised.
In larger cities like London and New York, Pride celebrations have become synonymous with corporate branding, alcohol sponsorship and blockades separating people from parades and being less about community marches and more about promotional commodities.
In many countries being LGBTQIA+ is illegal, oppressed and stigmatised; Pride is an act of protest that people put their lives at risk to organise and show up for.
Sometimes taking that risk to fight for human rights does take lives, lives that are already in danger for being LGBTQI+.
In 2020 when the Covid pandemic hit and we had to cancel our Margate Pride parade, photographer Elissa Cray began a project to document the LGBTQIA+ community & their allies as individual portraits. Travelling to the participants and photographing them in their environments, places of work and against land marks of the town, with a golden reflective backdrop, a visible studio, framing each sitter and connecting each portrait to the next.
These were hung in stores and cafe windows to become an alternative version of the parade, so people could still show up, be seen and be celebrated.
Margate Pride is about and comes directly from our community and through our celebrations we can also bring attention to the challenges faced by others of us, elsewhere.
Here in Margate our lives aren’t so heavily on the line for organising demonstrations and parades but we do suffer losses and are always at risk. So our presence and our Pride continues to be an act of resistance and solidarity which is punctuated by Cray’s series of portraits. The archive now numbers over 100 portraits hung together this year to generate a photographic MassGathering, holding space and standing proud.
This series of portraits is an important archive and all are invited to participate, so please do get in touch to have your portrait added to the collection as it grows and grows alongside our community.
Words: Lo Lo No