Vancouver's Queer Arts Festival's visual art exhibit explores transgression

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      Vancouver's Queer Arts Festival, which runs until August 9, kicked off with visual flair on July 24 at the Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre.

      The festival, which spans opera, dance, theatre, visual and performance arts, literary arts, music, and more, launched with its visual arts exhibition TransgressionNow curated by artist Paul Wong and grunt gallery director Glenn Alteen.

      The festival's artistic director SD Holman talked with the Georgia Straight at the launch about what the theme meant.

      "Queers have always predicated themselves on being outside and being transgressive and they wanted to look at where we are now, what is transgressive now, in a society where…we can get so many things at our fingertips, anything online, but we also kind of live in a bit of a conservative era. So they're looking at what the queers are doing now with transgression and what that looks like now."

      In April, the Department of Canadian Heritage had informed the festival that it would not be renewing its grant funding.

      The festival was later informed on May 8 that partial funding would be restored.

      Holman said they received 75 percent of funding back.

      "We had amazing support from the community…I think this is such an important festival, not only for Vancouver but for Canada. As far as I know it's really the only one of its kind that has a curated visual arts show."

      Holman said they had to tighten their belts a bit and that it affected them more out of fear of losing funding and spending time on fundraising.

      Nonetheless, Holman remained excited about the launch of the festival.

      "Half of the curated work is media work, which is new this year for us," Holman said and also added that When the Sun Comes Out (on August 5, 7, and 9) is Canada's first lesbian opera.

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