Our story

"Loneliness with a duvet" by Øyvind Rauset which was used on the exhibition poster for "NIGHT & DAY" with Nordic gay artists, 1985

Pride Art has belonged to a movement of queer art since the middle of the 1900th century. Through Gay Liberation Movement which gained momentum in the 1960s and 70s, queer art has become an important provider of perspectives and nuances in the debate about gender equality. Not least, it has been crucial in creating diversity, representation, expanding freedom of expression and nuance the heteronormative majority view of gender, sexuality and culture.

The first official queer artist community known in Norway are the art projects that the women activist workshop SFINXA (1970-1985) was behind. The book "We ate, slept and drank feminism" by Inge Ås and Tonje Gjevjon (2020) gives an in-depth dive into queer art practice that took place in the years around the repeal of criminal law sections 213 and 379 which criminalized homosexuality.

The first official gay exhibition in Norway in the spring of 1985 was "Night & Day". A couple of months before, Fin Serck-Hanssen exhibited his series of photographs "ten blue men", which was also included in "Night & Day". Three of the pictures from the series have been taken care of as part of our national treasure in the National Museum and are also part of the collection of the queer art and culture center Pride Art is helping to establish. The circumstances surrounding these pictures tell a story about how drastically the mood around queer art has changed since 10. Fin Serck-Hanssen tried to hang a poster for his exhibition at Metropol, the most important meeting place for Norwegian gays in the 3s, but the poster was rejected of the Confederation of 1985, the predecessor of FRI, which owned Metropol. The refusal was allegedly politically motivated; The gay community was conservative and men should dress nicely with shirts and ties, great hairstyles and listen to hit music. Men in women's clothing, rubber and leather were taboo. But at Café de Stilj he got to show the pictures. The series was intended to highlight gay diversity, a diversity that was too much for the gay movement and rejected by our own.

During what was then called Homodagene, "Night & Day" was kicked off for one of the world's longest continuous traditions for queer group exhibitions. The pioneers Øyvind Rauset and Ane Reppe were behind the import of the work "Nordic gay artists" had started a couple of years earlier in Sweden and Denmark. The purpose of the group was “to improve knowledge of the special culture in which homosexuals live and express themselves, and to develop it. After "Night & Day”Followed annual queer collective exhibitions by a dynamic collective of queer artists.

The exhibition in 1985 attracted a great deal of attention and received a full page in both VG and Dagbladet. The exhibition attracted a total of 2452 visitors during the two weeks it was open. The event was marked by the fact that it was almost 13 years after homosexuality was decriminalized. 1/3 of the population at the time thought that homosexuals should limit their inclinations, it was stated in a newspaper the same day. The story tells something about how important Pride is as a protest, not just as a party, and how crucial individuals have been in advancing the tradition, community and platform our movement stands on today. Almost 40 years later, surveys show that 1 in 5 Norwegians still believe that homosexuality is disgusting (2020). In 2013, 4 out of 10 men in Norway thought that homosexuality was wrong (NRK).

After a large-scale exhibition in 1988 called "Vibrations" at Black Box, Aker Brygge with as many as 23 exhibitors and 100 works of art, the tradition turned into smaller and more scattered exhibitions throughout the 90s.

Notice in Blikk from 1996 about an exhibition in the old toilets on Østbanen. Toilets and urinals have an important cultural significance for queer sexuality

In 2001, a group of queer artists gathered as an official artist collective. The project the group created in 2001 was called «Art at Skeiva»; a group exhibition held in Dronningensgate 10. The initiative came from photographer Jens Sølvberg and Annika Wattne Rodriguez. Right from this first exhibition, it was clear that this was a collective project - they not only signed up to exhibit, they also volunteered to organize the exhibition. This was the start of a movement where queer art was to be shown on the premises of queer artists, which little by little has brought a wider diversity into the Norwegian art field.

In 2002, the exhibition was called «Raw juice»And the gang behind it was named« Skeive Kunstnere (Queer Artists) ». This time the artists exhibited in several places - at Galleri Brenneriet, Galleri 21.24/21.25, Galleri GUN and the gallery café Kaffekunst. The number of artists had doubled, and various expressions such as video installation, textile, sculpture, photography, painting, glass and graphics were represented.

2003 was the starting shot for the Queer solidarity campaign, the year when the United States invaded Iraq. Gay Artists began a tradition of solidarity fundraisers and later invitations of gay artists to participate in exhibitions from countries that are more disadvantaged than Norway when it comes to gay rights and space for expression. The group collaborated with i.a. Amnesty, the Norwegian Refugee Council and other organizations over the years. An art activist profile emerged, where the group placed itself in the layer between the rights movement and the practical field of art communication - art and politics in beautiful union. Amnesty's LGBT group was ignited by the idea of ​​queer solidarity, and the following year (2004) a collaboration on solidarity action began between queer artists and the Amnesty group (Marna Eide was the driving force for this). In 2004, the campaign focused on the situation of lesbians in India and cooperation with organizations in Delhi and Mumbai. In addition to pure fundraising, information activities and awareness-raising work on this year's theme have always been important.

In many ways, it was art that came first in the queer rights movement. Queers could express their longings, their life and their identity through art and go under the radar in political and religious regimes where homosexuality is taboo or punishable. In many countries, such as Russia, art is still the central way of enlightenment, attitude work and help with life skills for queers when the space for political work is cramped or even dangerous.

In 2003, the group's exhibition was again gathered at premises in Brenneriveien - both Galleri Brenneriet and Strykejernet art school were filled with the works of a little tired but very happy artists. Petter Nome came and opened the ball, and at the art auction Comtesse von Lüderitz himself was the auctioneer.

The exhibition in 2004 was held at At Gallery BOA and Gallery 21:24/21:25. New this year was that music and dance were represented among the art expressions. In 2005 it was Europride in Oslo, and the artists called the exhibition Pride Art to be international. The exhibition was again held at Gallery BOA and Gallery 21:24/21:25. The solidarity action was held in collaboration with gay organizations in Murmansk and Moldova. Worth mentioning is that the photographer Christian Berset and his project "See my dress" where 12 profiled men lined up in drag (including Atle Antonsen, Sputnik and Sven O. Høiby!) The pictures were printed as a calendar and the sale of the calendars and original pictures contributed a total of NOK 90.000 XNUMX to the solidarity work - a record for the campaign.

In 2006, the exhibition was gathered in the premises of LLH in Kongensgate, while from 2007 it has been represented in Pride Park. The solidarity action in 2006 and 2007 focused on queer organizations in East Africa and their struggle. Pictures made by members of the Kenyan group Minority Women in Action have also been exhibited in Pride Park. Annual information campaigns and collections during "Skeive dager" (Queer days) have continued, and so has the contribution from "Skeive kunstnere" (Queer artists).

At the first exhibitions in this movement, there were about 20 artists. In 2006, "Skeive Kunstnere" (Queer Artists) had an exhibition in the basement at "Homohuset" (The gay house) in Kongensgate with a few thousand bucks in budget for nails and bubbles. "Skeive Kunstnere" (Queer Artists) also had a winter exhibition that year, which was called «Butterflies in winterland». In 2006, the exhibition was given the title «Skeivt kulturslepp». In 2007, Skeive Kunstnere became a subgroup of FRI OA, and the exhibitions were held in the future in a festival tent in Pride Park. In 2007, 27 artists exhibited 134 works of art in the park with a cash balance of NOK 7000 XNUMX. To the best of their ability in a fabulously queer collaboration, the artists carpented and nailed walls to the exhibition and connected hundreds of meters of extension cords. In the years to come, "Skeive Kunstnere" (Queer Artists) stayed in Pride Park in tents, it was challenging enough with poor ground, mud and wet cobblestones and not least rain leaks and theft. One year someone stole our payment machine. It was cramped, and one year the group ended up in a clinch with one of the audience who took some of the paint from an oil painting on his Armani blazer. However, we agreed that he was the one who owed the artist money when we compared the price of the blazer and the artwork.

In 2015, "Skeive Kunstnere" (Queer Artists) made a quantum leap and accepted the application for an exhibition in the venerable City Hall Gallery in Oslo. As many as 57 artists exhibited 463 works of art on the 350 m2 we were allowed to fill. This was the last year the curation was done completely by the artists themselves, also the hanging and placement of the art. This curatorial concept was a conscious and essential choice the group made to challenge the way the cultural field otherwise sifts, excludes, norms and sometimes censors the performance space through traditional jury and curation. If we were to have a real diversity and representation of all the marginalized and undercommunicated voices in art, we would have to think completely new. The group chose to be curious about what happens to diversity when the individual with support in a chosen community, gets to decide for themselves what is art and not and what the person himself thinks is important to show. In this way we can gain insight into a wide range of queer people's lives and realities.

After renting the beautiful premises of «Genius» at Håndverkeren in 2016, where the group itself built a gallery in the premises, "Skeive Kunstnere" (Queer Artists) had an exhibition again in Rådhusgalleriet with a record of 70 artists from 20 different countries. As many as 5000 13 people visited the exhibition "Born like this - become like this". The artists were from all over the country as well as a number of guest exhibitors from other countries. The artists were from 70 to XNUMX years old. The rainbow children must also be mentioned, who had been in the exhibition for many years. Over the years, Pride Art has developed a separate program for creative workshops and exhibition spaces where the group especially highlights gay youth, children of gay families and gender-creative children. The elements of the rainbow children were important for portraying the children's interpretation of the family and their gender identity.

In 2017, "Skeive kunstnere" (Queer Artists) developed their focus on literature and queer performing arts and presented a large and diverse program with queer entertainment and performance that attracted a lot of attention. For many, it became important to have a stage and be able to seek out queer cultural communication outside the crowded and festive arenas that otherwise characterize Pride Week.

In 2018, Skeive Artists' annual meeting changed its name to Pride Art and entered into a 3-year letter of intent with Oslo Pride AS. Pride Art and Oslo Pride collaborated to co-locate the exhibition and the political debate arena Pride House in a 1000 2 m15 festival tent on Youngstorget. The co-location multiplied the audience in both areas with as many as 000 10 visits in XNUMX days. The exhibition Shameless attracted great international attention among pride activists from many countries who visited and heard about the exhibition which showed almost 550 works of art by 100 artists with cultural backgrounds from as many as 25 different countries. Parts of the exhibition traveled to Arendal during Arendal week and on to Skeive sørlandsdager in Kristiansand under the title «Shameless». This started an ambition in Pride Art to support, initiate or contribute to queer exhibition initiatives during other Pride festivals around the country.

In 2019, 25 000 people visited the exhibition at Youngstorget «I Fought - Therefore I am». 115 artists from a wide range of artistic expressions exhibited almost 600 works of art. With the increased attention, the group was now able to receive key art collectors, cultural politicians and art professionals who visited the exhibition. The exhibition had now grown to be a festival in itself that housed a full day of queer literary markings, a rich stage program with daily elements of performances, concerts, drag shows and art and cultural policy debates. It was great to be able to offer queer artists and performing artists a queer stage where they get a completely unique exposure. That year, the queer opera ensemble debuted Skeive Voices on the Pride Arts stage. It is exciting to see how more and more queer artists and performers debut and establish themselves through our platform and receive support to find their way into mainstream arenas and the opportunity to establish themselves. Several of the artists who today are highlighted as representatives of queer artists got their first viewing experiences in Pride Art and reaped self-confidence and professional development through meetings across generations and solidarity between established and unestablished artists at group events.

After a thorough evaluation process, it became clear in 2020 that Pride Art best fulfills its tradition, vision and values ​​through being independent and artist-driven. Pride Art registered as a separate organization and the formal collaboration with Oslo Pride AS ceased, although the organizations will continue to collaborate and make each other visible as before. An overall movement is crucial for impact and influence. In the same year, Pride Art, together with the queer cult magazine MELK, took the initiative for a project that will fulfill the ambition the queer movement has had since the 70s to establish a permanent queer culture house in Oslo. This is a unique initiative where the entire gay rights movement as well as a large number of cultural groups stand behind a project that will ensure that the focus on gay culture that emerges in the Queer culture year 2022 is continued into a permanent structure. Not least, the project will promote queer cultural dissemination on the premises of the queer population and ensure that queer people are allowed to tell their own stories and disseminate their own representations in their own arenas.

In 2020, 130 artists registered for the exhibition "Un / limited", which had to be canceled shortly after the registration deadline due to the pandemic that broke out. This was the first year since 1985 that no exhibition was arranged in Oslo. In 2021 comes the year of revenge where Pride Art fills DOGA's 1000 2 m8 fabulous premises with the queer art festival «Wunderkammer» from October 27-XNUMXth.

Pride Art believes that visibility is the antidote to shame and silence, and knowledge is the antidote to prejudice and hatred.

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