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SUNDAY SERVICE – Praying to the Kweens of Queer

SUNDAY SERVICE – Praying to the Kweens of Queer

A group exhibition of a remarkable collection of 29 artists from the LGBTQIA+ community is showing at the  in Stellenbosch this December, dissecting what it means to be queer in this day and age.

For too long queer identifying people have been denied access to the structures that society is built on, such as Church, Matrimony, Parenthood. The same love and respect and basic Human Rights granted any other citizen in front of the law, should be granted all, regardless their status, their gender and their sexual orientation. Despite our constitutional protections, marriage equality and the right to adoption, Queer citizens very often still face exclusion and discrimination. Sunday Service aims to unpack and investigate how in a country where there is supposed to be separation of Church and State, the church is often allowed to act as sole arbiter of what is or is not ‘normal’.

As a totem reflecting ‘love’, the contradiction of exclusionary practice embodied by the church often averts the desire to participate in doctrinal beliefs, when YOU signify what ‘they’ deem evil.

Sunday Service is a continuation of a curatorial conversation held in 2010, and seeks to destabilise the commercialisation of Queerness. When in 2010 Blank Projects hosted the exhibition Swallow My Pride, the body of work criticised Gay Pride for its corporatised commodification of the gay experience, crafting pink-money that allows one to buy into the heteronormative capitalist hierarchy.

In its original statement, it read: “This constructed stereotype is not only conservative, inhibited and achingly dull; crucially it dismisses the real-life diversity of the gay community, where issues of race, poverty, religion, discrimination, and self-acceptance continue to be a daily struggle.”

It’s the loop of modernity where pockets of ‘post-gay’ lifestyles homogenise the impression of Queer, shifting focus from the violent witch hunts against Queer bodies in Tanzania, the USA, Brazil, Chechnya, etc., to witchy drags posted on social media, flaunting abs and fairy wings. Archaic ideologies become the stunt of modernity. Where notions of ethics, crippled by religious interpretations, feel themselves so threatened by the softness of Queer that their only response is to institutionalise further violent oppression on the Queer body.

Sunday Service opens the church doors in an attempt to radically queer the space. And since queer is not a suggestive act but an exalted emancipation, the wish for this exhibition is to show Queer as that essence of omnipotent love. Sunday Service extols the divine beings reverenced by the beauty of Trans and kneels to the energy of Femme. Homage is paid to the saints of homo! It’s time to fall on one’s knees and pray to the Kweens of Queer.

Sunday Service can be viewed at GUS (Gallery University Stellenbosch) on the corner of Dorp and Bird Streets, Stellenbosch, from 9th to 21st December 2018.