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Speaker explores art’s role in LGBTQ community

Marce Dupay

Art was the vehicle used for exploring activism, art and identity, with a focus on the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer community Wednesday night in the Union.

Marce Dupay, instructor in the University School of Art and coordinator for Arts BG, presented “Queer Art Activism = More than the Sum (or Some) of its Parts.”

The event was sponsored by Delta Lambda Phi Social Fraternity, an international organization for LGBTQ students, said Kyle Shupe, Delta Lambda Phi program chair.

The organization tries to host an event about an issue in the LGBTQ community about once a month, and this time it wanted to focus on activism and art and its place in the community, Shupe said.

“I think it’s important to think about where we are from and the places we can go,” Shupe said.

A broad range of works were featured, ranging from the 1920s to today, and included some of Dupay’s own work.

Sophomore Daniel Galek said he enjoyed the presentation and that it provided perspective, especially when thinking about art as a form of activism.

Dupay spoke about identity and the traits and methods society uses to “frame” and “other” people. These creates ideals for what or how they think things ought to be, thus establishing norms, which separate and “other” people who don’t match those standards.

“When we look to others to find an identity, we run into problems,” she said in the presentation.

A person has various forms of identity and it’s fluid, not static, Dupay said.

Activism in the LGBTQ community is about acknowledgement as much as it is visibility, she said. An example would be the AIDS Quilt, which was created to memorialize and acknowledge the people dying, people who were marginalized and largely invisible to society.

The simple act of saying “we exist, we’re here,” is a form of activism, because it challenges the norms and points at the system that created the issue, and in essence, that was what the quilt was about, Dupay said.

“Part of queer art activism is to reclaim, just like the word queer has been reclaimed,” she said.

Dupay talked about reclamation as a form of healing, and said LGBTQ issues are similar to slavery. Although things are starting to change, it’s important to remember what happened and why.

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