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Despite the present economic downturn and clamp down on funding opportunities, we continue to get a number of invites and news about art, theatre and film initiatives organised and presented by Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Trasgender (LGBT)  and queer artists.  Some of these are mentioned on GFEST social media networks (twitter, Facebook, myspace etc.,)

It is also heartwarming to notice that younger LGBT community members and artists are using online networks to highlight issues from across the world in this festive season of Gay Prides. In doing so, they are tackling a number of current concerns. These may not be necessarily only cultural, but also incorporate a broader spectrum of socio-environmental topics. Perhaps the only area in which the artists need to do more, is getting back into hard-edged political art work that was a hallmark of  gay art for past several decades. More pressing current issues such as recent ‘forced marriages’ of some gay men in the UK,  mostly of South Asian origins, can be tackled more effectively through cultural media initiatives. Along with providing legal protections, it is primarily about ‘changing hearts and minds’.

Wise Thoughts' Production Yours Emotionally! Still 2
Wise Thoughts' Production Yours Emotionally! Still 1

A notable factor of LGBT / Queer initiatives is that they are mostly self-funded or they depend on minimum to very little public funding. At the same time, majority of them are using ethical marketing tools & community buzz to feedback into the artistic and cultural activity.

Despite of odd news of Vandals damaging Pride art exhibit second time in Atlanta, the spirit to present art or cultural events is not dampened. In fact, the vibrant gay art community seems to find new ways to promote the work most cost effectively through a word of mouth campaign and through sheer passion to make things happen without greater financial resources. It’s not an ideal situation to expect people to work without a proper payment.  It is about time mainstream media offers justifiable space to cover LGBT and queer art initiatives which deserve better attention by them.  More media coverage along with sponsorship & public support to these events will ensure a greater number of high quality art works in the medium to longer term.

- NIRANJAN KAMATKAR

Niranjan Kamatkar is artistic director at WISE THOUGHTS, arts charity that organises  GFEST – Gaywise FESTival in November across venues in London.

Note: GFEST 2010 call for submission now CLOSED.

GFEST, London’s annual LGBT arts festival in November presents Performances, Visual arts and Short Films. More info on GFEST web: http://www.gaywisefestival.org.uk

GFEST web networks: http://www.wisethoughts.org http://www.gaywisefestival.org.uk http://www.facebook.com/niranjan.kamatkar http://www.gaywisefestival.blogspot.com/ http://twitter.com/gfest https://gaywisefestival.wordpress.com/ http://www.yoursemotionally.com/ http://www.myspace.com/interviewwithapolitician http://www.flickr.com/photos/gfest/ http://www.youtube.com/user/wisethoughts http://uk.linkedin.com/in/niranjankamatkar http://www.myspace.com/gaywisefestival

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