From March 27 to 31, Rainbow Pride Centre (RPC) collaborated with the School of Fine Arts Students Association (SOFASA) to create and curate Outward, a 2SLGBTQIA+ art exhibition showcasing queer art.
Alex Rana and Adhara Nayar, co-presidents of Rainbow Pride Centre and 2SLGBTQIA+ representatives for UMSU and the Arts Student Body Council respectively, knew that they wanted to collaborate with different faculty associations this year. The two had met up with Lauren McNaughton and Earl Sinajon, 2SLGBTQIA+ co-representatives for SOFASA, to talk about working together on a project.
“We were originally discussing different projects we could do for a joint SOFASA and RPC collab,” McNaughton explained.
McNaughton added that during meetings the group considered the possibility of putting on an art exhibition, and “using it as a way for members of other faculties as well to be able to represent themselves in their art, especially since a lot of times they’re not given the opportunity to.”
There are obstacles with running an exhibition like this for the first time in any scenario, but for Outward, Rana, Nayar and McNaughton faced a diverse set of challenges.
The UMSU Flex Space where the show took place did not allow nails or screws to be used in placing artworks, forcing those involved to use command strips and hooks instead. However, through trial and error the team managed to accommodate the needs of artists to the best of its ability.
Additionally, there was some initial concern regarding how much interest the idea for the show would generate.
“It was definitely a nervous first few days when we opened submissions because we weren’t sure how many we were going to get, if we were going to get enough people interested in submitting their work or if we were even going to be able to fill the room, but we were pretty lucky,” McNaughton said.
“By the time we were closing, we got around 20 people [who] submitted.”
Despite the nervous start, having an art exhibition for 2SLGBTQIA+ students to showcase their work created a general sense of excitement and joy for all those involved.
“We had our reception this past Saturday [March 25] and it turned out really well,” Rana said. “We had a good turnout.”
“There were some of the artists there and they brought friends or family and it seemed like everybody was glad to see their art up and in an exhibit, too, specifically for queer artists.”
The representatives expressed a desire for the exhibition to be a recurring event, and the collaboration is something that they would like to keep going as well. They emphasized their gratitude to all the students involved, and to UMSU who provided the space.
“Thanks to all the students, the artists who submitted their work because obviously we could not have done it without them, and we’re really glad they were willing to share that with us and with the university,” Rana said.
For information on future RPC events this term, like its Pride & Sexuality pin fundraiser happening on April 4 and 6, you can find RPC on Instagram @rpc_umsu or visit RPC’s community lounge on campus in 180 Helen Glass Centre for Nursing