Museum of Love & Protest

Museum of Love & ProtestA signature event for the 40th anniversary Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras celebrations, the Museum of Love & Protest, opens on Friday 16 February at the National Art School, Darlinghurst.

Free to enter and running daily until the end of the Festival (Sunday 4 March), the Museum of Love & Protest looks back across four amazing decades and presents a stunning exhibition of costumes, photographs, iconic posters, storytelling and rarely-seen film and video footage.

“This is a must-see exhibition with incredible Mardi Gras magic on show,” says Mardi Gras CEO Terese Casu. “Visitors to the Museum of Love & Protest will experience 40 years of astonishing, creativity, storytelling, artefacts, photographs and video from amazing LGBTQI Australian artists.”

“Many costumes seen fleetingly on the Parade route and in Mardi Gras festivals of yesteryear have been lovingly restored and beautifully presented so you can see up close the hard work which goes into each item.”

Curated by Susan Charlton, the Museum’s theatrical design by Anna Tregloan combines visual spectacle and moments of intimacy for visitors to discover the extraordinary stories, artists, communities and images of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

Costumes by Brenton Heath-Kerr, Ron Muncaster and Pip Playford all feature in the exhibition, on loan from the Museum of Applied Arts and Science, as well as costumes worn by Miss Ellaneous, Pauline Pantsdown, Bob Downe, Vanessa Wagner, Joyce Maynge, Peta Friend, AJ Brown, Ted Cook, Pisa Tufuga, and wigs by Maude Boate.

Participating photographers include William Yang, C.Moore Hardy, Mazz Image, Ann-Marie Calilhanna and Markham Lane. 1978 photographs include images by Sally Colechin, Geoff Friend and Branco Gaica. Commissioned Artists include Deborah Kelly, Gareth Ernst, Rene Rivas and Lewis Oswald. Plus original artworks by David McDiarmid.

“As a special treat, on Friday and Saturday evenings at 6pm the Museum of Love and Protest really comes alive for the In Conversation series as special guests entertain you with their unique spin on Mardi Gras history,” said Creative Director Greg Clarke.

Former Gras Festival Directors Gillian Minervini and Jonathan Parsons will be in conversation on Friday 16 February; Tobin Saunders (aka Vanessa Wagner) and Simon Hunt (aka Pauline Pantsdown) on Saturday 17 February; 78ers Su Goldfish and Alissar Chidiac on Friday 23 February; and DJ legend Stephen Allkins and Sandy from the Oxford on Friday 2 March.

On Saturday 24 February don’t miss the Mardi Gras Archive Roadshow, featuring photographer Helen Grace, who has just unearthed some never-before-seen 1978 images and Jane Becker who has a collection of Party and Parade design drawings, and where the audience is invited to bring along a Mardi Gras artefact to share.

The Museum also invites you to contribute your own memories of Mardi Gras across time, through a Community Memory Project with costume-maker extraordinaire Rene Rivas in the Pink Butterfly Lounge. Help create a unique butterfly dress that will be worn in the Parade by Rene as part of the Evolutionary Dinner Party Float.

Museum of Love & Protest
NAS Gallery – National Art School, Corner Forbes and Burton Streets, Darlinghurst
Exhibition: Friday 16 February – Sunday 4 March 2018
Free admission

For more information, visit: for details.

Image: 1978 Poster by Chris Jones; 1983 Poster by Alan Booth; 1995 Poster by Pierre et Gilles; and 2009 Poster by Lewis Oswald / photo by Helen White – courtesy of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras