‘Gay people in rural Ireland suffer lack of acceptance’

Open submissions for Luan Gallery, Athlone’s 2020 programme, are now being accepted in response to the theme of ‘Queer Migration’ which explores the relocation of many gay people from rural communities to urban areas.

“‘Queer Migration’ is the movement of members of the LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning) communities from rural Ireland to urban centres, questioning the presumed utopia of rural Ireland and issues of acceptance, oppression, Irish values and community mindsets,” said Katriona Gillespie, curator at Luan Gallery.

A rural community can serve as a site for sanctuary as well as a site of oppression, Katriona said. However, many gay people in rural Ireland suffer isolation and a lack of acceptance due to the overarching moral standards that exist in traditional rural Irish culture, she contended.

Despite Ireland becoming the first country to legalise same sex marriage through nationwide referendum. . .heteronormativity remains the accepted standard in rural areas, forcing individuals to relocate to urban centres.

In light of the mass migration of people internationally – and how this “age of migration is centrally implicated in the construction, regulation, and reworking of sexual identities; communities; politics; and culture (according to Eithne Luibhéid in ‘Queer Migration, An Unruly Body of Scholarship’) – Luan Gallery invites artists to submit artwork that responds or addresses the concerns and questions on this issue.

“Potential sub-themes specific to the idea of  ‘Queer Migration’ may include: migration; loss; grief; growth; healing; adaptation; identity; transition or temporality,” said Katriona.

Submissions from this open call will inform Luan Gallery’s 2020 programme.  “It is envisaged that this open call will inform and continue a national conversation on equal rights for all citizens, regardless of sexuality. The resulting showcase of works addressing the theme of ‘Queer Migration’ will be used to record, engage and educate audiences,” Katriona said.

The closing date for submissions is: Monday, May 13 at 5:00pm.