In connection with the exhibition FOCUS: PERFECTION – ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE, the Montreal Museum of Fine
Arts, in partnership with TD Bank Group, is celebrating sexual and gender diversity in all its colours.
Installed alongside the Robert Mapplethorpe exhibition, ÊTRE/AIMER – BE/LOVED associates works from the Museum’s collection with the words of members of the LGBTQ community and allies in a perspective that is sometimes playful and sometimes poetic, but always inclusive. It invites visitors – teens and adults – to reflect on people’s common need, regardless of their origins, sexual orientation or gender identity, to love and be loved.
The works include: Albrecht Dürer’s Adam and Eve (The Fall of Man) (1504); Edwin Holgate’s Azalea (about 1939); Alfred Pellan’s Fireworks (1960); and Steven Shearer’s Larry with Blue Nose (2006). A recent Museum acquisition will be exhibited for the first time in Canada: Simeon the God Receiver (2015) by American artist Kehinde Wiley, whose works urge viewers to challenge preconceptions and assumptions related to race and gender.
The words of members of the LGBTQ community and allies have been taken from the book Modèles recherchés : l’homosexualité et la bisexualité racontées autrement (Guy Saint-Jean Éditeur), published by Le GRIS-Montréal, and the short film Être soi-même, produced by Arc-en-ciel d’Afrique. Along with the works on view, they challenge stereotypes to celebrate the universality of romance, as well as the freedom to be and to love. Mediators from the organization Le GRIS-Montréal will be on hand on Sundays to discuss this theme with the public and answer questions, while the organization Arc-en-ciel d’Afrique will offer monthly workshops. The Museum will distribute colourful posters (see above) to help raise awareness of diversity and inclusion among visitors.
For over twenty years, Le GRIS-Montréal (Groupe de Recherche et d’Intervention Sociale) volunteers have visited Quebec schools to relate their experiences as gays, lesbians and bisexuals and answer students’ questions in order to help demystify homosexuality and bisexuality.
Founded in 2004, Arc-en-ciel d’Afrique promotes the integration and empowerment of LGBTQ people of African and Caribbean descent, as well as of their families and friends in Quebec, mainly through awareness-raising workshops and art projects like MASSIMADI: Afro-Caribbean LGBTQ International Film and Art Festival.
Photo: Poster created after the work: Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528), Adam and Eve (The Fall of Man), 1504. MMFA, purchase, Miss Olive Hosmer Fund.