Unwrapped: LGBTIQA+ communities connect through arts and culture

Sharon-McCutcheon-UnsplashFacilitated by the Greater Dandenong City Council, local LGBTIQA+ artists and communities will connect and celebrate through a range of virtual activities as part of Unwrapped this November.

Featuring an exciting and diverse range of free activities, including a Digital Dance Club, exhibitions, performances and workshops, Unwrapped provides inclusive, safe spaces for self-expression and celebration.

Greater Dandenong Council Chief Executive Officer John Bennie, said the event will provide pathways that lead to social change through the creation, development and delivery of a diverse and inclusive arts and culture program.

“The City of Greater Dandenong supports diversity in all its forms, and we are pleased to be able to offer this fantastic event to all LGBTIQA+ members and allies of our community,” he said.

Mr Bennie said while the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way the programs would be delivered, there was a silver lining. “People can join in from the comfort of their own home. This is particularly beneficial for those members of the community who might be unsure about attending an event in person – they are able to choose their level of engagement.”

Mr Bennie said the event comes at a vital time, with many people in the community needing to feel connected and supported. “LGBTIQA+ people experience disproportionately higher rates of anxiety, depression, suicide and self-harm when compared to the rest of the population.”

“For individuals who are already under stress, COVID-19 has prevented many from accessing community and cultural spaces which provide a level of protection and connection for people seeking support,” said Mr Bennie.

Through a rich variety of cultural programming, Unwrapped, endeavours to connect LGBTIQA+ individuals with one another by providing a safe and respectful space, encouraging both self-expression and acceptance. Program highlights include:

“…the smell of roses” by Jonathan Homsey – an award-winning arts maker – is a deeply personal demonstration exploring how cultural tensions against his queerness and unrequited love have accumulated within his physical body. The performance will also be made available as an audiobook to take the listener on a journey through meditation, movement and playtime.

Non-binary writer, activist and public speaker Nevo Zisin will lead a panel discussion, Artistically Queer exploring queer identity within the arts. The online discussion will cover what it means to be a queer artist in 2020.

James Hale is a queer artist based in Melbourne. He makes small, colourful, text based oil paintings on cardboard. They can be sad, bitchy, sexy, devastating, offensive, funny, bitter, fatalistic, inscrutable, sensitive, stupid, or profound.

A free online social event for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Gender Diverse, and Intersex elders and allies, the Digital Dance Club is an ongoing social project that combats ageism, social isolation, and discrimination by creating safe, social and recreational spaces for older LGBTQI+ people. Learn new dances and chat with fellow, fabulous people!

Satellite events will also be offered by headspace Dandenong, Chisholm Tafe and Connection Arts Space. Unwrapped continues to 30 November 2020. For more information or to join an event, visit: www.greaterdandenong.vic.gov.au for details.

Image: Sharon McCutcheon / Unsplash