London Gay Art Festival GFEST 2015 was a Success

GFEST – Gaywise FESTival ® 2015



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The 8th GFEST – Gaywise FESTival ® came to a close this weekend after a successful two week run. The festival enjoyed a good turnout for its week-long visual art exhibition ASIAN FUTURE, challenging perceptions of Asian LGBTQI identities at London’s Menier Gallery. This was matched by a good turnout for GFEST’s TONAL FUTURE evening dedicated to gay composers past and present, with their compositions performed in St Pancras Parish Church by LGBT musicians. The corresponding panel discussions were also successful and well attended.

GFEST’s CINEMA FUTURA film screenings at ArtHouse Crouch End was sold out. GFEST’s special LGBT tour of Tate Modern, led by artist Michael Petry, was another successful, sold out event.

Niranjan Kamatkar, artistic director of GFEST commented: “We got a fabulous response from both the artists and audiences, saying that they thoroughly enjoyed participating in the events. It was all due to high quality artistic contributions, not only by the artists but also by the guest curators and programme advisors.”

Festival organisers and artists took the opportunity of GFEST to make several important statements. On the eve of Diwali, India’s festival of light, an appeal was made to British Prime Minister David Cameron. In a letter to the PM, GFEST’s Subodh Rathod urged David Cameron to discuss LGBT rights in India with the Indian PM, whose visit to Britain coincided with Diwali and with GFEST’s ASIAN FUTURE visual art exhibition. With GFEST’s TONAL FUTURE music concert taking place exactly one week from the horrific events of Paris, and with extremists in the Middle East killing LGBT people and destroying art, GFEST took a moment during the concert to show solidarity with the people of Paris and with LGBT people in Syria and beyond.

With this year’s festival, GFEST challenged its audiences to question and not blindly accept the status quo, with the theme: (Complacent Present)… Fragile Future? It turned out to be an especially pertinent, timely theme that highlighted a promising future for the LGBTQI artistic community.

GFEST will return next year – 2016 dates to be announced.

GFEST 2015 LGBT art tour at Tate Modern

GFEST- Gaywise FESTival 2015 music concert



GFEST 2015: Why it’s important to present gay composers’ music at London’s LGBT art festival

GFEST2015PerfEventbriteWhen we planned for GFEST – Gaywise FESTival 2015 music concert, it was vital to ensure that we have selected a range of artists and musical works that reflect the theme for this year’s festival – (Complacent Present..)..Fragile Future? There is an element of complacency amongst both the audiences and the artists of classical music, to acknowledge the sexuality of some of the most eminent composers from past. Composers such as Tchaikovsky, Schubert or Britten whose works that have enriched and shaped the musical landscape. In selecting the work we also wanted to remember and recognise the sufferings of those such as Vladimir Horowitz or Francis Poulenc who were either forced to deny their sexuality or face possible prosecution. And as they say – ‘without a past there is no future’.

GFEST2014logoIn these financially challenging times for smaller voluntary art organisations like Wise Thoughts, it is very difficult to resource the creation of new work that may not be commercially viable, hence the only way forward, for us, seems to be to try and support artists ourselves. We hope the concert will inspire both composers, musicians and institutions, to create new works and engage with Wise Thoughts (the arts charity that organises GFEST) to showcase the works via GFEST or our other platforms.

All the money raised from the sale of music concert tickets will go towards setting up a fund to commission new works. We have kept the ticket prices very low – only £7 or £5 to help ensure we are able to encourage greater access particularly by new audiences for classical music. Audiences are also able to make an online donation when booking the tickets, and these too will help contribute to the fund.

WT-CCHlogoWe aim to commission a range of music from diverse genres.  Commissioning artists to create works that will be showcased at the next GFEST also enables them to develop work without fear of not having their voice heard or their creations not shared to a broader audience.

So we appeal everyone to purchase tickets and come and support the wonderful musicians who are performing for Tonal Future : Gulliver Ralston, Liam Bryne, The Korros Ensemble, Miles Lallemant, and Duncan Day. Please visit;   We hope people will be generous and make additional donations either via the booking link or via our own website or on the day. It would be a great to help spread the word about the concert via social media using the #TonalFuture and @GFEST. We need all the support we can get to help promote not just the concert but more importantly the fact that we are trying support the commissioning of new work.

BOOK the tickets for GFEST 2015 music concert



Highlights: GFEST – Gaywise FESTival 2015 starting from next week!

GFEST – Gaywise FESTival 2015: London’s annual cross-art festival events dates/ time and tickets:



GFEST 2015 Films – Art House Crouch End Tues 17 November 2015: Feature The Surface + short film Tomorrow  / 8 pm BOOK Tickets

GFEST 2015 Films – Art House Crouch End Wed 18 November 2015: A series of world class short films / 8 pm BOOK Tickets 



GFEST 2015 Classical Music Performance – St Pancras Parish Church Fri 20 November 2015: Music concert presenting the works of LGBT composers and musicians. Lineup includes Gulliver Ralston, Liam ByrneThe Korros EnsembleMiles Lallemant and Duncan Day. A fundraiser for GFEST 2016 new commissions – 7.30 pm Tickets via Eventbrite / via ticketscript



GFEST 2015 Visual Arts Exhibition – MENIER GALLERY  Mon 9 to Sat 14 November  11 am – 6 pm ENTRY FREE / no tickets required.

Asian LGBTQI identities art show with works from Sunil Gupta, Charan Singh, Maya Chowdhry, Raju Rage and Raisa Kabir.



GFEST 2015 Asian art –  LGBTQI identities debate – MENIER GALLERY Sat 14 Nov 2 – 4 pm Free but booking essential – BOOK

GFEST 2015 LGBT Tour of Tate Modern Mon 16 Nov – 7 pm Free but booking essential – Call 0207 887 8888 a place book online.

GFEST 2015 Music and sexuality debate – University of Roehampton Sat 21 Nov 12 noon – 2 pm Free but booking essential BOOK

LA based director flew in to present his film at @GFEST in London

LA based director Michael J Saul is in London to present his film at GFEST 2015

Michael J Saul, the acclaimed director of gay feature drama ‘The Surface’ is now in London to present his UK premier at GFEST – Gaywise FESTival 2015.

The film screening will take place at ArtHouse Crouch End in London on Tuesday the 17th November at 8 pm.

Melbourne born Harry Hains, an emerging talent, stars in the film portraying a young man struggling to create his own sense of family.

GFEST 2015 artistic director Niranjan Kamatkar said. ” We are delighted that Michael will be here to present his coming-of-age film in London. This is a film that can inspire a number of LGBT young filmmakers and potential filmmakers.”

Director of ‘The Surface’ Michael J Saul added, “I am very excited for our UK premiere and very happy that I get to attend. I look forward to the audience reaction to the film.”

Book your place to watch The Surface.

The second night of GFEST 2015 film screenings showcases diverse short films on Wednesday the 18th November (8 pm) at ArtHouse Crouch End. Book to watch the short films programme.

GFEST 2015 art exhibition exploring Asian LGBTQI identities, starts next week

Art critic and writer Anna McNay has written an essay on GFEST – Gaywise FESTival 2015 visual arts and music acts, which is now published on GFEST website.



Challenging perceptions of Asian LGBTQI identities, an exhibition at London’s Menier Gallery (9 – 14 November, free) offers a rare glimpse into a world where gender, sexuality and religion are defiant bedfellows. ASIAN FUTURE will feature new work by legendary artist, writer and activist Sunil Gupta, renowned for his honest portrayal of gay life around the world, including his native India where practicing homosexuality is essentially illegal. The exhibition will present a series of his photographers that explore moments from South Asian Queer life sketches. Also on display are photographs by Charan Singh, a visual artist informed by years of community activism and HIV/AIDS work in India. A Delhi native, he’s currently taking a PhD in photography at London’s Royal College of Art. Manchester-based interactive artist Maya Chowdhry, in collaboration with poet Sarah Hymas, presents poetic sculptures that explore the fragility of life and anthropogenic climate change. These works are guest curated by Michael Petry.

Another guest curator Simon Tarrant presents work by two relatively younger London-based artists whose work contemplates gendered South Asian queer identity. Raju Rage combines film installation with image collage to question gender, sexuality and religion. Trained as a weaver, Raisa Kabir questions the politics of dress in connection to space, gender, race and sexuality.

Art critic Anna McNay will head up a debate on SEXUALITY AND SOUTH ASIAN IDENTITIES at Menier Gallery on the afternoon of 14 November. There’ll be LGBT tour of Tate Modern’s Level 4 Galleries with artist Michael Petry looking at QUEER ART AT TATE MODERN (16 November) hosted by Tate curator Marcus Dickey Horley


Spotlight on ‘relatively silent’ world of gay musicians and composers: TONAL FUTURE

GFEST – Gaywise FESTival ® 2015

Spotlight on ‘relatively silent’ world of gay musicians and composers: TONAL FUTURE

Classical Music Concert:  20 November 7.30 pm

St Pancras Parish Church : Euston Rd, London NW1 2BA : BOOK

GFEST2015PerfEventbriteGFEST 2015 Music PERFORMANCE

This year’s GFEST concludes with an evening of classical music in the hollowed environs of St Pancras Parish Church, with its wonderful natural acoustics (20 November, £7 / £5 concessions). Entitled TONAL FUTURE, the evening aims to raise funds for, and awareness of, the ‘relatively silent’ world of gay composers and gay music. Having worked with the Royal Northern Sinfonia, the National Orchestras of Lebanon and Malta, and having directed Oxford’s University Church mixed-voice choir for 10 years, Gulliver Ralston will present a solo piano recital featuring works of Francis Poulenc. Liam Byrne plays the viola da gamba, a historical hybrid of guitar and cello. He will play forgotten gems of baroque music by Marin Marais and Sainte Colombe alongside newly commissioned works by living composers including Nico Muhly. The Korros Ensemble is a dynamic trio with an international reputation for their unique and distinguished performances. Comprising flute, clarinet and harp, they create a rarely heard soundworld of unusual and beautiful textures. They’ll present compositions of Benjamin Britten and Manuel de Falla. Having worked as an accompanist with Opera Ireland, NI Opera and Ulster Orchestra, counter tenor Miles Lallemant will present a short recital accompanied by Duncan Day on piano. BOOK


Panel Discussion Music and Sexuality    Saturday 21 November 12.00pm – 2.00pm

Chaired by Gulliver Ralston, Director of Music at the University of Roehampton and at Oxford’s University Church, the panel discussion FRAGILE FUTURE? will debate the impact of LGBT composers and musicians on classical music, and explore the influences of sexuality on creation of music (Digby Stuart Chapel, University of Roehampton Lane, London SW15 5PU) Entry:  free BOOK


Celebration of excellent art-house LGBTQI indie films at London gay art festival: CINEMA FUTURA

GFEST – Gaywise FESTival ® 2015

Celebration of excellent indie art-house LGBTQI films at London gay art festival: CINEMA FUTURA


ArtHouse Crouch End 159A Tottenham Ln, London N8 9BT Box office: 020 8245 3099



GFEST imagines the future of cinema, how it represents contemporary LGBTQI culture and how this has entered the mainstream, with two days of queer films at ArtHouse Crouch End (17 – 18 November, £10 / £7 concessions).

The programme opens on 17 November with the UK Premiere of THE SURFACE (dir: Michael J Saul, USA). From the director of True Love, his new ‘coming of age’ feature follows a young gay man on an emotional rollercoaster of finding his true identity in the modern gay world. Followed by a director Q&A. Also screening is the short film TOMORROW (dir: Leandro Tadashi, USA). Fresh from BFI Future Film, it follows two young men worrying about their future on New Year’s Eve in 1999. BOOK


The shorts programme on 18 November is a cornucopia of sexual diversity representing this era of ‘acceptance’. In extraordinary festival favourite ELECTRIC INDIGO (dir: Jean-Julien Collette, Belgium/France) two heterosexual men unite in a non-carnal marriage and raise a daughter together. NERDESIN ASKIM? / WHERE ARE YOU MY LOVE?  (dir: Defne Gezen, Turkey) is a story of transsexual sex workers in Istanbul, Turkey, where there is very little protection and no ‘hate crime’ laws. Challenging gender and identity, PINK PILGRIMS: FIN and TRANNYSFORMATION: JONO (dir: Craig Heathcote, UK) are two vignettes that peek behind the glittered curtains of Sink The Pink, east London’s most outrageous queer club. Set on a park bench in the 1960s, PUTTING ON THE DISH (dir: Brian Fairbairn & Karl Eccleston, UK) observes two strangers conversing in Polari, a form of slang spoken by some gay men in Britain before the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1967. PEPPER (dir: Patrick Aubert, Canada) presents the painful awakening of a couple after an evening of fantasies, when dreams evaporate and reality appears. Based on a true story, RULE OF THUMB (dir: Almog Gurevich, Israel) sees a young man navigating sexual freedom on Tel Aviv’s gay scene, while being enslaved by his struggle with bulimia. The single largest group of homeless kids in the USA are LGBT. UNCONDITIONAL (dir: Kent Igleheart, USA) tells the story of a black teen kicked out for being gay, featuring music from Grammy-nominee Hozier. A filmmakers Q&A will follow. BOOK