And What? Queer. Arts. Festival
And What? Queer. Arts. Festival was two years old in 2017. It ran across October in 17 venues, featuring over 200 artists in 30 different events and reached audiences in excess of 6,500 people. From year 1 to year 2, And What? morphed its vision into a festival that presents a majority of World/UK and/or London premieres, new experience-led work and showcases. The festival aims to create accessible platforms, open spaces and to make opportunities for artists, for audiences and for venues to engage with Queer practice. Headline events included NSA: A Queer Salon, a live art take-over of the city based National Trust property Sutton House, programmed by Steakhouse Live, Squelch: Wet Sounds, an audio-visual experience with live performance in Ironmongers Row Swimming pool and Queer Art(ists) Now, the first large-scale national open-call exhibition for Queer identifying artists all represented the ethos and forward vision of And What?
Elsewhere we co-presented new work by Nando Messias, Louise Wallwein, Alexander Geist and Neil Bartlett and closed the festival with a landmark exhibition by international artist/pornographer/provocateur Bruce LaBruce. Overall, the festival celebrated diversity within the wider Queer community, we included a mentoring programme for young Queer visual artists that resulting in the Talking Genders exhibition and presented work from Denmark, American and Canada.
Looking forward to 2018, And What? will continue to reach out and include more international work, develop new platforms, be more collaborative and continue to surprise. Alongside maintaining and growing existing activities such as Queer Art(ists) Now, which saw over 500 people attend the opening preview, And What? will be looking to develop other signature strands of practice that will become the framework of the festival going forward. There is a thirst for new opportunities, for facilitation and conversation and, And What? is just a small part of this within the London footprint, but we aim to grow and mirror the city in which we live, to remain exciting, relevant, open and accessible.
Date Posted: 23 January 2018