Our vibrant LGBT+ community arts exhibition, Loudest Whispers, is now open until 12 May, showcasing the work of more than 40 artists and celebrating those working in TV, cinema and photography.
The exhibition was officially launched on Friday with an evening of celebration and cabaret attended by more than 250 people who were entertained by drag queen Ebony and comedian La Celine, followed by the grand finale fashion show, with Herr Boli as MC.
Opening the event Trust Interim Chair, Peter Molyneux, said: "It is fantastic to be here in LGBT+ history month. The Trust is really proud to host Loudest Whispers which is a joyous and visible representation of who we are and we we want to be. It is particularly important for a mental health trust, charged with looking after peoples' health and wellbing, we need to create a psychologcally safe space that supports service users, carers and staff. It is fantastic that it is in a place that patients, service users, carers and staff see. This form of representation really does make a difference to health and wellbeing."
Andrew Machin, Associate Director of Charity Development, said: "Looking at the artwork, it is a wonderful epression of what it is to be human, and express our life publicly in a generation that is much more open now about the diversity of our lives."
The Arts Project’s Loudest Whispers exhibition has grown in popularity since its launch in 2009 when it included work by 14 artists. It is now a firm fixture on the north London arts calendar, attracting significant interest from across the capital as one of London’s most inclusive and diverse LGBT exhibitions.
This year, it includes mixed media artworks on the theme ‘Behind the Lens’. Highlights include a studio-created selfie booth, an installation called Memoria that acknowledges hundreds of LGBTQ+ artists and craftspeople and invites viewers to contribute names of their own, There is also be an illustrated lecture presentation on gender representation and an exhibition event showcasing short films, including several produced in collaboration with students at the University of Westminster.
Transgender artist Simon Croft said: “Exhibiting in Loudest Whispers has been really valuable for me creatively. An artwork comes alive when an audience sees it - that's when you find out whether it resonates with people and how they view it. The opportunity to get work seen, to hear those responses, to have conversations and get critical feedback is vital to developing my creative practice. Loudest Whispers has given me that chance for 13 years and consequently has made a great difference to my work.”
Supported by forum+, an independent charity working to promote equality for LGBTQ+ people in Camden and Islington, the exhibition aims to nurture and showcase creative LGBT+ talent in Camden and Islington. For some LGBT+ artists, it is a unique opportunity for the public to see their creative work, exploring themes including identity and life-changing experiences.
Dr James Grey, chair of the Trust Rainbow Network, relaunched the staff LGBTQ+ group at the event, and said: "It is 50 years to the year since we stopped being officially "mentally ill" - homesexuality was declassified as a mental illness by the World Health Organisation in 1973.. . So why do we need a staff network? We live in a world where we know we are in a minority, we get stigmatised we get attacked, we get shamed we get rejected and traumatised and we develop survival tactics. These tactics make us put us put up walls, but staff networks help us to connect, we support each other and appreciate each other."
Loudest Whispers is hosted by Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust, with support from the Trust’s charitable foundation; sales of the artworks go to the charitable foundation, which raises money for projects that benefit staff and service users.