From 14 till 21 February 2014 within the cooperation of LGBT communities of Kyiv and Munich an exhibition of a German artist Naomi Lawrence entitled “Guys, let’s live friendly!” takes place in the Ukrainian capital. The original title of the exhibition “Gay Propaganda – How gay is Batman?” was adapted to local context using a famous quote from a Soviet cartoon about Cat Leopold. Venue of the exhibition – Karas Gallery (Andriyivskyy Descent 22-а).
Naomi has created her art pictures as a response to attempts of the authorities to criminalize homosexuality in Ukraine. Using the images of a well-known comic book, cartoon and TV-show figures in an unusual context, the artist questions their heteronormativity and makes the audience to take a broader look at familiar things and eventually to realize that “different” does not necessary means “worse”. The exhibition will present 12 paintings done on wood. As the topic of the exhibition is of current interest for many countries of the Eastern Europe, it will be mobile.
“We accept what is close and familiar to us. Different frightens us off. Therefore we reject it. That is the main idea of an exhibition ” Guys, let’s live friendly!”, – tells Lawrence about her brainchild. – Many figures I have selected are well-known since kindergarten. They are our old friends. We accepted their diversity and, perhaps, just thanks to it we are so fond of them. Childhood Heroes have features, which undermine the certain gender role perceptions. However, this does not prevent us from loving them just the way they are with all their special features.
For my exhibition I chose figures, which, I believe, might have had problems with being themselves in a real life – just the way we like them. Probably they would have been marginalized by society, or even would have been persecuted by law.
To visualize this statement, I tried to preserve the intensity and original nature of the figures and at the same time to move them into another context, where new associations would emerge. When football players jump in each other’s arms and lie down on one another as a “sandwich” after they score, it does not cause any disgust. But when I change the context and say: “These football players are gay”, the same actions will be interpreted differently. ”
On February 14th, as a part of the opening ceremony it is planned to hold a Skype conference – a live window between Kyiv and Munich. As one more present for the Kyiv audience in this evening a small semi-acoustic concert of the women’s band from Munich “Queen Baba” will be playing melodic rock!