South African activist Bev Ditsie (left) on her 16th birthday. Photo: Courtesy Gay and Lesbian Memory in Action (Johannesburg, South Africa).
San Francisco — A new exhibition opening on February 1 in the Front Gallery at The GLBT History Museum will draw on innovative curatorial work combining art and history to offer a glimpse into the ways queer lives from the past are honored in archives around the world. Conceived by E. G. Crichton, the museum’s artist-in-residence, “Migrating Archives: LGBT Delegates From Other Collections” will present materials from nearly a dozen countries, with each participating organization providing photographs of artifacts and documents to portray the experiences of one or two individuals.
“The archives from countries far and wide are sending representations of their chosen collections as delegates to San Francisco,” says Crichton. “The images will be brought together in large graphic wall panels and associated videos to create portraits of both the organizations taking part and the historical lives they have chosen to represent them.
“It’s as though the people who will be portrayed are themselves virtual delegates to our city and our time,” Crichton adds. “Some of the individuals included are famous, and others are ordinary people whose artifacts were found or donated after they died. One or two remain anonymous, reflecting the fate of so many LGBT people whose names have disappeared from history.”
Organizations and collections participating in the “Migrating Archives” exhibition include
Adarna, Manila, The Philippines; Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives, Melbourne, Australia; Cassero Gay and Lesbian Center, Bologna, Italy; Fonds Suzan Daniel, Ghent, Belgium; Gay and Lesbian Memory in Action (GALA), Johannesburg, South Africa; Hall-Carpenter Archives, London; Labrisz, Budapest, Hungary; National Archives, London; and the James Branch Cabell Library, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia.
“My idea is to put materials that are precious to each collection into motion as they become guests and hosts, sometimes crossing national borders more easily than individuals can,” notes Crichton. “For people whose traces are so often erased even by our biological families, omitted from official histories, or just lost, archives are a way of creating our own lineage. ‘Migrating Archives’ is designed to both demonstrate and inspire this vital process of historical self-creation.”
“Migrating Archives” opens on Friday, Feb. 1, 2013, with a public reception from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at The GLBT History Museum, 4127 18th St., San Francisco. The exhibition runs through May 2013.
The museum is open Monday and Wednesday through Saturday 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.; Sunday, noon – 5:00 p.m.; closed Tuesday. Admission is $5.00 (regular); $3.00 (California students with ID); free for members. For more information, visit www.glbthistorymuseum.org.
ABOUT THE GLBT HISTORY MUSEUM
Open since January 2011, The GLBT History Museum in San Francisco’s Castro District is the first full-scale, stand-alone museum of its kind in the United States. Currently featured in the Main Gallery is a long-term exhibition: “Our Vast Queer Past: Celebrating San Francisco’s GLBT History.” The Front Gallery and Corner Gallery spaces present changing exhibitions.
The museum is a project of the GLBT Historical Society, a research center and archives that collects, preserves and interprets the history of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people and the communities that support them. Founded in 1985, the society maintains one of the world’s largest collections of GLBT historical materials. For more information, visit www.glbthistory.org.
ABOUT THE EXHIBITION PARTICIPANTS
Following are the exhibition participants confirmed as of late December. Further participants likely will be added before the opening:
Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives (Melbourne)
Fonds Suzan Daniel — Belgian LGBT Archives and Documentation Center (Ghent)
Cassero Gay and Lesbian Center (Bologna)
Gay and Lesbian Memory in Action — GALA (Johannesburg)
Hall-Carpenter Archives (London)
The National Archives
Special Collections and Archives, James Branch Cabell Library,
Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond, Va.)
Demonstration in Milan, Italy, against the U.S. Supreme Court decision that upheld the constitutionality of a Georgia sodomy law (July,1, 1986). Antonio Frainer is the nun on the right. Photo: Courtesy Felix Co; Cassero Gay and Lesbian Center (Bologna, Italy).
Suzanne De Pues, born in 1918, gradually became aware of her feelings for women. In the 1930s, she discovered gay and lesbian nightlife in Brussels and adopted the pseudonym she would use henceforth: Suzan Daniel. At the same time she was active as Belgium’s youngest and first female film critic. Photo: Courtesy Fonds Suzan Daniel (Ghent, Belgium).