Sydney WorldPride announces diverse team of Curatorial Associates
While many events and festivals around the world have been thrown into uncertainty over the past two years, luckily Sydney’s annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras has yet to miss a party. While we look forward to a fabulous time when Mardi Gras kicks off in February and March this year, next year we can expect an oversized celebration when Sydney World Pride 2023 puts Emerald City on the world stage, combining with Mardi Gras for a grand 17-day LGBTQIA+ extravaganza.
As the highly anticipated festival approaches, a team of curatorial associates have been unveiled, with names and faces that should be familiar to anyone frequenting local Queerand art scenes. Selected following a rigorous call for expressions of interest opened in 2021, the six partners will join the creative director of the festival, First Nations Ben Graetz and creative director of the festival Daniel Clark and bring expertise from a wide range of art forms.
The team includes Bhenji Ra, pioneer of the Australian ballroom scene, creator of Sissy Ball and mother of the House of Sle; Denis Golding, a Kamilaroi/Gamilaraay artist born and raised in Redfern (his work The future is here recently exhibited at Carriageworks); Harriet Gillies, an award-winning performance artist who has completed artist residencies with acclaimed artists such as Marina Abramović (she also served as co-production director and touring director for Peaches’ There’s only one peach with a hole in the middle, which toured across Europe in 2019); Jennifer Greer Holmes, a live performance and video producer, artist and DJ whose extensive credits include working with Branch Nebula and running the Feast Festival; Michael Louis Kennedy, playwright, writer and arts professional who is currently part of the Sydney Theater Company’s Emerging Writers group and Marketing Director of Performing Lines; and Felicite Nicol, a proudly queer and disabled performer from Sydney’s Inner West who has worked and collaborated with Mardi Gras, the 78ers, Spark Youth Theatre, Australian Theater for Young People and others.
The Associate Curatorial team began work towards the end of 2021 and will assist in the development of the WorldPride program through advice and feedback, project ideas, community connections and by evaluating any opportunities for support. open call for inclusion in the festival. The festival promises that the program will prioritize the development of events that provide a platform and opportunity for traditionally underrepresented voices while developing new audiences for LGBTQIA+ arts and culture events.
“Our vision has always been to ensure that we have opinions, expertise and experiences contributing to the Sydney WorldPride Festival programme,” said the festival’s co-creative directors.
“This team of associates is exceptional and it is a privilege to have their minds on the Festival program with us. Their experience, connections, insights, ideas and passion will help us ensure that the Sydney WorldPride Festival arts and culture program is relevant, inclusive and inspiring. We welcome their feedback on our programming ideas and look forward to rigorous discussions about the program as we develop it.