The project, funded by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, seeks to mark this significant change in social and cultural attitudes and to celebrate and work with an important section of Bournemouth’s community.
Taking inspiration from the Rainbow Flag, which has been used since the 1970s to symbolise the LGBT+ community, the volunteer curators at the Russell-Cotes have selected paintings and objects from the collection to reflect the colours of the rainbow flag and their associated themes: sexuality, (pink), life (red), healing (orange), sunlight (yellow), nature (green), magic and art, (turquoise), harmony (blue) and spirit (purple/violet). Through these themes, they have refracted the Russell-Cotes Museum’s extraordinary and diverse collection and have created a stunning exhibition which will appeal to all.
Some of the works reflect human LGBT+ experiences over the decades before decriminalisation and highlights include The Annunciation, 1877 by Simeon Solomon (1840 – 1905), a Pre-Raphaelite follower who was arrested and imprisoned for sodomy, destroying his promising career. Artist, John Minton (1917 – 1957) was so conflicted by his homosexuality that he committed suicide and his stunning life-size portrait, Painter and Model, will take center stage.
Other works of art and objects have been chosen for their kitsch and exuberance, for their relevance to the rainbow themes, or merely because of their personal appeal to the individual curators.
The exhibition runs from 13th May to the 8th September 2017.
Painting shown: Painter and Model, 1953 by John Minton (English, 1917-1957)
Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum is on the East Cliff Promenade, Bournemouth, BH1 3AA
OPEN: 10am to 5pm, Tuesday-Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays.