STAUNCH: An Exploration of Aboriginal Queer Liberation
Curated by Dominic Guerrera
About the exhibition
Nexus Arts is delighted to present STAUNCH: An Exploration of Aboriginal Queer Liberation as part of Tarnanthi, and including works on loan from the Flinders University Museum of Art.
Curated by Ngarrindjeri, Kaurna and Italian writer and artist Dominic Guerrera, STAUNCH foregrounds queerness, exposing the diversity of possibilities that reside within Aboriginal identities. The exhibition presents a curated collection of work created by queer Aboriginal contemporary visual artists, presented alongside text quotes from three Aboriginal poets and against the backdrop of a previously unheard soundscape. STAUNCH celebrates Blak liberation found in ideas, in love and in togetherness.
Explore the exhibition
Originally published Koori Mail, 18 December 2013, page 24.
Collection of Flinders University Museum of Art 4428
© Michael Riley/Copyright Agency, 2021
Collection of Catherine Carrol
Originally Published: Lemon in the Chicken Wire, Magabala Books, 2016
Collection of Flinders University Museum of Art 3390
© the artist
A neighbouring tribe use to call us Guarai, the hostile ones. Why did they consider us hostile? Was it that we were staunch and fought for out rights. Was it that we had great pride and would defend our Country. I think its all these things.
My partner Ian Kenny bought me a concertina book from Japan which they call Orhions, and since 2016 these books have been a part of my practice as they represent queer love, a love gift between men. The book is a contemporary reimagining of ancient rock art, the layers of time and knowledge and feature the Dingo. The dingo is considered hostile, a pest that gets in the way of colonial progress (livestock farming) and is hunted and baited. Its our native dog but isn’t given the respect it deserves. It doesn’t have the same rights as other natives and to me it’s the queer outsider, fighting to exist and thrive. In this book I celebrate the Dingo and my tribe the Ngarigu, both consider hostile, but both proud and up for survival.
Gift of Emeritus Professor JVS Megaw and Dr M Ruth Megaw; Collection of Flinders University Museum of Art 4335
© Brook Andrew/Copyright Agency, 2021
Someone once asked me to describe Queerness, I replied: ‘If heterosexuality is about conforming to a ridged structure of sexuality, then Queerness is about the endless expressions of human sexuality, gender and sex, and the absence of them.’
We navigate against tides and winds that push us in our unnatural direction. Our feet march these streets, our arms hold and nurture babies, we are present and organising. We are community.
We are resistance, for we have more gazes upon our bodies, more knives pointed to our fronts and to our backs. We have been rejected from every corner of every community and yet we still shine more colors than a rainbow.
We create revolutions, we stand up for what is right, because if we don’t, who will?
This is not a burden, this is survival.
I created this exhibition out of a deep love for my second home, the Aboriginal Queer community. This home is filled with incredibly strong people, people who often excel in their lives, despite the need to cope with the additional layers of oppression we face. We are present in our communities, we contribute significantly, particularly when it comes to work of resistance and revolution. Any given movement for Aboriginal rights, has Aboriginal Queer people at the heart of it.
The artists presented don’t need me to create platforms for them to speak, they are a capable of doing so themselves. But rather, I need them–because through their expression and work I am informed, I am educated and I am able to take action. This exhibition is my classroom, I hope it becomes yours too.
Meet the artists & curators
Dominic Guerrera (he/him) is a Ngarrindjeri, Kaurna and Italian person. Dominic is a poet, podcaster and is currently undertaking a Masters in Gender Studies at Flinders University.
In 2020 Dominic curated his first art exhibition circles to us, which featured at Nexus Arts and in 2021 was the guest curator of the Context Writers Festival with Writers SA.
Dominic’s writing has featured in Granta Magazine, Artlink Magazine, Cordite Poetry Review and in 2021 was the winner of the Oodgeroo Noonuccal Poetry Prize.