Garden by Kian Benson Bailes - 2021 – Digital Collage, which is part of the exhibition.

'Queer As You Are' exhibition for Luan Gallery

As part of its Summer 2021 programme Luan Gallery is presenting ‘Queer As You Are’, a group exhibition of Irish artists which it says “explores the gaps and fissures of queer presence within Irish history and considers how queer historical discourses, or lack thereof, populate our past, present and future.”

The exhibition opened on Tuesday and runs to September 19, pending public health restrictions and will feature artists; Kian Benson Bailes, Stephen Doyle, Austin Hearne, Breda Lynch and Conor O’Grady and is curated by Aoife Power and Carmel Duffy.

The artists within this exhibition examine the tension in translating different historical, social, and cultural contexts into something that can be understood by others today. Addressing the absence of objects to assist in their story-telling each supplement alternative materials, drawing on psychoanalysis, activism, archaeology, hook up culture, the occult and autobiographical accounts.

Kian Benson Bailes engages with stories from the fringes of Ireland’s heritage and creates a different space for thinking about regional history. Intersecting between craft and queer theory, drawing parallels between the aesthetics of rural and marginalised communities and employing paper mâché and non-precious materials he produces proxy artefacts to allow for a rereading of our heritage.

Stephen Doyle’s ‘Attending Colaiste’ is a critical examination of the role of education and the institution in the lives of queer youth. Doyle illustrates the creation of isolation and shame propagated by the lack of representation for queer, trans, and non-binary youth in educational settings

Austin Hearne attempts to (re)appropriate and queer religious imagery, seeking a way to celebrate queer memory whilst simultaneously acting as a point of resistance. Despite holding a staunch position, himself, Hearne’s practice is a nuanced reflection on religion and suffering, rather than sacrilege.

In her ongoing project ‘Fragments of a lost civilisation’, Breda Lynch endeavours to make the hidden history of women’s same-sex desire comprehensible. A continuous issue, female queerness and sexuality is still largely invisible, in part because it wasn’t seen as so significant in legal and religious terms.

Conor O’Grady highlights the relationship between marginalised groups, mapping isolated spaces within urban rural settings as sites of ‘promise’ or ‘victimisation’. He offers fresh perspectives on class, generation and space and the negotiations of safety by closeted gay men outside the commodified ‘gay bar’. His interview-based practice documents groups whose lives have not been affected by the changing political landscape and who aim to leave little to no trace of their existence.

Luan Gallery aims to temporarily transform into a multi-textural space that will hopefully establish meaningful connections for the Midlands LGBTQIA community that will persist beyond the exhibitions closure.

For further information visit or @luangalleryathlone

Luan Gallery is open to the public Tuesday to Saturday from 11am-5pm and Sundays from 12-5pm. All are welcome.