Queer Arts Festival asks where do you draw the line in 2015?

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      Where would you draw the line?

      That's what this year's visual art exhibition at the Queer Arts Festival asks viewers to consider.

      In an article on gay and lesbian art, the Oxford Dictionary of Art refers to a 1990 photo-based exhibition Drawing the Line by Vancouver Collective Kiss & Tell (Persimmon Blackridge, Lizard Jones, Susan Stewart) as the quintessential embodiment of queer art.

      The exhibit, created in an era of Little Sister's Bookstore's battles with Canada Customs and fire-bombings of Red Hot Video, asked audiences where they drew the line by giving them pens to draw and write around images of lesbian sexuality.

      QAF is revisiting that exhibit on its 25th anniversary with Trigger: Drawing the Line in 2015.

      In an interview at the exhibit launch, QAF artistic director and exhibition curator SD (Shaira) Holman told  the Georgia Straight that Kiss & Tell weren't initially keen on remounting their work.

      "Kiss & Tell were reluctant at first to put their work up again because they said it was an interruption of a specific thing at a specific time. But then as we continued talking, they got a lot more interested in what I was talking about and where I was going and wanted to ask the artists 'How has that changed? How is that different? Where do you draw the lines, whether that's artistically, formally or politically?' "

      Holman also was concerned about the lack of awareness of the historic significance of Kiss & Tell's work.

      "Not a lot of people know about this unless they're a dyke of a certain age, and just thought if it was any  other medium, or even some white guys, they'd probably have a statue in Vancouver, quite frankly," Holman said.

      The QAF's visual art exhibit, which opened on July 23 at the Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre, asks where the line is being drawn in 2015.

      For instance, the title makes reference to "trigger warnings", which are increasingly being used to warn art audiences about potentially traumatic content.

      In addition to work by Kiss & Tell, other artists includes Afuwa, Byran Bone, Coral Short, James Diamon, Jonny Sopotiuk, Jono Nboles, Suzo Hickey, and Toni Latour and spans medium as varied as collage and installations to video art.

      Queer Arts Festival artistic directcor and visual arts exhibit curator SD (Shaira) Holman
      Craig Takeuchi

      Holman said that there's more work in the exhibit by local artists this year than previous years.

      "The last couple of years have been very international, but I also really want to mix that up," Holman said. "I think it's important to bring in artists from different places, especially for the artists, not just for Vancouver, but for artists to mingle from different disciplines, to see what's going on in other places but I also wanted to bring this one a lot more back home so it's much more local where last year, it was almost entirely international."

      The visual art exhibit remains open for the duration of the Queer Arts Festival, which ends on August 7. For more information about the various performances, workshops, and other events at the festival, visit the QAF website.

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at twitter.com/cinecraig. You can also follow the Straight's LGBT coverage on Twitter at twitter.com/StraightLGBT.