Celebrating LGBT+ History Month at MAC

ExhibitionEpiphania Visuals: When Speech is Forced Down, Art Must SpeakSat 5 February – Sun 3 April 2022 | Opening times as building | Free | Arena Gallery

Epiphania Visuals Gallery & Archive, Folk Queer Theatre Archive, Rainbow Craft Collective, anonymous artists

This group exhibition presents the work of artists and activists from Bangladesh. It is curated by Dipa Mahbuba Yasmin, founder of Epiphania Visuals Gallery & Archive – the first queer art gallery of Bangladesh. The artists in the exhibition have chosen to remain anonymous, this is to protect their identity. Same-sex relationships are illegal, and the British colonial ‘Sodomy Law’ is still intact in Bangladesh. As a result, gender and sexual diversity are still illegal under their criminal code and although the law is not systematically applied, there is significant harassment, public exposure and stigmatisation by the police and the media towards LGBTQIA+ communities.

Themes explore gender identities including asexuality, gender and sexual diversity, and queer experiences through art, film, painting, and craft. Although many of the artists are not formally trained in the field of fine arts, their art has nonetheless acquired a unique and powerful visual language. It also serves as a means of strong collective activism. Through their work, the artists reflect themselves and their surroundings, addressing different views of gender politics.

MAC is proud to be presenting the artists’ work and we are grateful to them for their willingness to share their experiences and raise awareness of the huge difficulties facing many communities of queer creatives across the world today. Presented in partnership with Arts Council England and Transforming Narratives. Inspired by the Birmingham 2022 Festival.

ExhibitionLittle Earthquake: Nevertheless, We Persisted

Sat 5 February – Sun 3 April 2022 | Opening times as building | Free | Community Gallery

Inspired by and featuring cards, letters and messages of support sent to Anderton Park School, Sparkhill from across the globe during the 2019 protests around LGBTQIA+ inclusive teaching. This exhibition showcases the gentle, eloquent force of the handwritten note as a powerful form of activism. Coinciding with LGBT+ History Month, the exhibition explores pivotal milestones, from the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1967 through to contemporary lived experience and some of the ways young people are educated in schools.

The exhibition has been curated by MAC’s Associates, Little Earthquake.With enormous thanks to staff and governors at Anderton Park Road, Sparkhill. Financial support from players of the People’s Postcode Lottery. Inspired by the Birmingham 2022 Festival.

TheatreDibby Theatre: First TimeThu 17 Feb | 7.30pm | Ages 14+ | MAC Theatre

Can you remember your first time? Nathaniel can’t seem to forget his. To be fair, he has had it playing on repeat for the last 15 years. Now the party is over, the balloons have all burst and he’s left living his best queer life: brunching on pills and Googling kangaroo vaginas, ancient condoms and human cesspits on a weekday morning… or is he?

Award-winning HIV+ theatre-maker Nathaniel Hall (It’s a Sin) and Dibby Theatre present their critically acclaimed ‘hilarious’ and ‘heart breaking’ hit autobiographical show about growing up positive in a negative world. Join him as he blows the lid on the secret he’s been keeping all these years. A Waterside Arts Commission supported by Arts Council England.

WorkshopsSHOUT: Deconstructing the Aesthetics of Embodiment Tue 22 – Wed 23 Feb | 6pm | Randle Studio | Free, booking required

SHOUT: QueeЯevolutions – Screening + Discussion
Thu 24 Feb | 6pm | Hexagon Theatre | Free, booking required

SHOUT: Manuscripts of Foreign Body(s) – Screening + Discussion
Mon 21 Feb | 6pm | Hexagon Theatre | Free, booking required

Ahmad BaBa’s residency with SHOUT Festival & Midlands Arts Centre (MAC) is part of the ongoing research, exhibition and performance project “Embodied Temporalities – tracing the memories our bodies hold” produced by Oyoun cultural centre (Berlin, GER).

Rebel Dykes + Q&A

Wed 23 Feb | 8.30pm | Ages 18+ | MAC Cinema

‘We were very politically aware, but we were also very naughty!’ What better summation of the sexy, gritty, raw-and-rollicking experience of the London late-1980s dyke community, lovingly depicted in this new documentary. From Peace Camps, to the lesbian S&M club Chain Reaction, to the passing of Clause 28, Rebel Dykes cleverly mixes vintage footage, interviews, and animated recreations to illustrate an explosive time of sex, culture, and politics.

The screening will be followed by a pre-recorded Q&A with directors Harri Shanahan & Siân A. Williams, producer Siobhan Fahey, composer/music supervisor Ellyott and film contributor/club promoter Yvonne Taylor.

To see the full programme, please visit macbirmingham.co.uk.