Throughout the last decade, millions of refugees have braved the journey to cross into Europe, taking huge risks in search of a new life. Many do not survive the crossing, while others are turned away upon arrival by countries unwilling to open their borders. New campaign QUEER HOME, launched by Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants, sees 15 artists and illustrators come together to raise funds to support the work of Lesvos LGBTIQ+ Refugee Solidarity. Many have created new work for the sale, including the likes of Jamie Crewe, Adham Faramawy, Neil Haas, Mohammad Tayyeb, Marwan Kaabour and Emma Thacker.
A grassroots group of queer activists standing in solidarity with all migrants and refugees through fundraising and direct action, Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants was formed in 2015. Curator Eliel Jones joined the group four years later, and has put together their latest print sale—the first of its kind for the group. “I’ve been invested in questions of queer homemaking, care and hospitality in my practice for some time, so this felt like a very good opportunity to bring some of this on-going work into my organising with LGSM,” he explains. He worked together with fellow LGSM member Cecile Communal to select artists and illustrators who would connect with this notion of queer solidarity; “artists whose work would speak to questions of queer homemaking, either directly or through ideas of safety, shelter, family, belonging and unbelonging, endurance and resilience.”
“We chose artists whose work would speak to questions of queer homemaking”
“Miles away from home, aeons from the finish line”, reads a heartfelt drawing by British artist Jade Montserrat, who features in a major group exhibition at Lisson Gallery in London later this month. Jamie Crewe, winner of the Margaret Tait Award 2019/20, meanwhile uses the motif of a gridded fence in their contribution, with a single eye peering through an opening. Adham Faramawy’s print takes on a characteristically liquid texture, featuring soft tones of green and mauve alongside two crumpled towels, conjuring a scene at once familiar and alien. A more direct representation of solidarity against the odds is illustrated by Edward Thomasson, whose comic strip shows the breaking down of walls within a domestic environment in order to orchestrate an escape.
“When I joined in 2019, I was starting to work as a curator on a group exhibition around strategies of resistance to survive hostile environments, creating an adjacency between migration and queerness,” Jones reflects. “So often in the art world we get stuck in our own silos of thinking and working, and forget that much of what we are often seeking to do through our artistic or curatorial work is also simultaneously being addressed in various other contexts.” This openness is evident throughout the fundraising initiative, and Jones emphasises that at LGSM they don’t only support queer migrant causes. The group have run fundraising campaigns for many different types of migrant organisations, including Room to Heal, The Unity Project and Hackney Migrant Centre.
“The idea for the artists’ prints was very much inspired by LGSM’s ongoing efforts of solidarity towards all migrants, and here my hope was to work with a group of artists personally invested in countering hostile environments with the aim of extending solidarity to our siblings in Lesvos.” As he concludes, following an immensely successful first 48 hours of the sale, “It’s been a very beautiful reminder of how much power there is in queer solidarity.”
Prints will be sold at £15, offered as unlimited editions between 10 and 30 of April 2021, with all profits going directly to the causeVISIT WEBSITE