As part of its ongoing support and work in the queer community over the last eight years, SKITTLES® has once again joined forces with GAY TIMES, Queer Britain and Getty Images and this June, the group will launch an open-air exhibition called QUEER JOY across the King’s Cross neighbourhood in London.
QUEER JOY will showcase 50 striking portraits of queer people, captured by emerging LGBTQ+ photographers from the UK and abroad. The free exhibition, which runs 1 June – 31 August 2023, aims to shine a light on the unfiltered, queer self-expression that is vital to the LGBTQ+ community and highlight the feeling of Queer Joy.
The portraits will be displayed on the outdoor art benches on Granary Square, Pancras Square and Battlebridge Place as part of The Outside Art Project, which has turned the King’s Cross neighbourhood into one of the largest outdoor gallery spaces in London.
Exploring the concept of ‘Queer Joy’ – defined as the deep happiness that brings warmth and purpose to queer lives – the QUEER JOY exhibition is part of SKITTLES®, GAY TIMES, Queer Britain and Getty Images’ mission to help millions of people See The Rainbow by working to improve LGBTQ+ representation in photography.
The project is part of a multi-year campaign that set out to fill gaps in the LGBTQ+ archive, as images were often omitted, erased or non-existent, leaving an LGBTQ+ shaped hole in narratives about the past. The exhibition is designed to ensure the archives of tomorrow are as diverse, representative and inclusive as they should be.
This year, the group is working with 10 emerging LGBTQ+ photographers, selected following a nation-wide search in 2022, to try and capture all identities in 1000+ images, to help tackle stereotypes in media and better represent the vibrant and dynamic LGBTQ+ community within the UK. The photographers will be attending key moments and events across the year to capture Queer Joy and experiences, with some of their images included in the exhibition.
The exhibition coincides with the two-year anniversary of the opening of Queer Britain, the UK’s first LGBTQ+ museum, in King’s Cross in June 2021.
Speaking about the exhibition, Ryan Pardo-Roques, Senior Brand Manager, SKITTLES® said: “We’re thrilled to unveil our QUEER JOY exhibition in London as a celebration of unity in the run up to London Pride and beyond. Marking a three-year journey with our brilliant partners to help create the LGBTQ+ archives of tomorrow and shaping them into the dynamic and representative collections they ought to be, we hope that the exhibition will help further spark the feeling of queer joy and inspire vibrant expression. By helping people See The Rainbow we hope to drive more acceptance through visibility!”
Josh Fletcher, Executive Creative Director at GTX, GAYTIMES Group said: “At GAY TIMES, we are immensely proud to launch our QUEER JOY exhibition in King’s Cross. While curating the exhibition, we have had the privilege of connecting with exceptional and inspiring creatives from the global LGBTQ+ community, who have rallied behind the mission of our campaign. You cannot be what you cannot see. That is precisely why this exhibition is dedicated to showcasing positive and more authentic representation of the LGBTQ+ community.”
Joseph Galliano-Doig, Founder or Queer Britain said: “We’re so pleased to be celebrating our two year anniversary at King’s Cross by seeing all the Queer Joy right on our doorstep. It’s been fantastic to see all the positive reaction so far and we’re looking forward to the exhibition being in full swing throughout summer and over the Pride celebrations in London for everyone to enjoy.”
Dr Rebecca Swift, VP Head of Creative Insights, Getty Images said: “Our VisualGPS research has found that queer people are being represented in higher numbers than ever before, but there is still an over reliance on stereotypes. A third (34%) of all visual content still shows LGBTQ+ people with a rainbow flag! This exhibition is an opportunity to represent joy in all its glorious technicolour across the broad spectrum of the community.”
Anthea Harries, Asset Management Director at King’s Cross, said: “We’re delighted to welcome the QUEER JOY exhibition to King’s Cross. We’re dedicated to working with and supporting projects like this to give them a platform and it’s brilliant to be a part of such an inspiring exhibition, celebrating the next generation of talented photographers and their vision for expressing Queer Joy.”
Alongside the exhibition, the group are working to ensure that future documentation is truly representative of the LGBTQ+ community. The free-to-attend exhibition runs from 1 June-31 August on Granary Square, Pancras Square and Battlebridge Place in King’s Cross, London.
A week on from the launch of QUEER JOY, King’s Cross will also be running a queer market at its much-loved Canopy Market, running from 9-11 June under the West Handyside Canopy.