Dear Friends, For many years - since I came out as being lesbian/queer - I have been thinking about the visual representation of ‘queer women’ in popular culture, visual art, media and the public realm. Often, I have toyed with the idea of making images that reflect the intimate and daily experience of women who love women.
Living in India, this has often been a difficult proposition since it is extremely problematic for women to be OUT (visually) for varying reasons of safety that could lead to loosing jobs, apartments and fracture further the relationship with our families, friends and general social interaction and mobility. This is true for queer women in many parts of the world.
Therefore, while many of us make self-portraits, have intimate photos of ourselves or our partners and friends, daily life record etc, these are mostly restricted to the privacy of our homes and shared with a handful of people. How then to represent a wide range of images of queer women from different parts of the world? Images that reflect ourselves, our lovers, partners, familiars, alternative families etc. while being able to reflect gender, sexuality, race, culture, ability and age?
One possible answer came to me as I was looking through the holiday photos of friends, pictures they had taken of themselves (auto-portraits) on the beach at dawn. Suddenly I felt so delighted to simply see images of a dyke couple on holiday! That kicked started – Queer women take a holiday! Pictures taken by us for ourselves - record, and documentation of our lives - the way we choose to make it.
So please, I request you to send me at least one holiday photo of yourself - either alone, with your former/current lover/s, partner/s, familiars (human or non-human), and friends or family (with their permission of course). I propose to compile the images I receive from you into a book (no publishers as yet, but I am looking) and possibly into a web archive. via :::Project:::queerwomentakeaholiday:::
What a great concept re: snapshots as a ‘conspicuous by abscence’ queer signifier! The project is by Tejal Shah, a multi-disciplinary artist from India and Melbourne. As far as can tell it’s ongoing, click for details.