Every day, 12pm to 6pm Saturday 4 February to Saturday 25 February Except Sunday 5 February, Monday 6 February, Tuesday 7 February, Wednesday 8 February, Sunday 12 February, Monday 13 February, Tuesday 14 February, Wednesday 15 February, Sunday 19 February, Monday 20 February, Tuesday 21 February and Wednesday 22 February
Anita Bryant is an American singer, beauty pageant queen, Florida orange juice ambassador, and one of the most famous American anti-gay rights activists of the late 1960s and 1970s. Through an installation of collages and a site-specific work Anita Bryant Monuments responds to the legacy of her mass-media anti-gay propaganda.
The collages are constructed of Anita Bryant record sleeves and quotes in the form of adhesive stickers as well as responsive appliqued photography of the artist in drag. The site-specific temporary ‘monument’ references the 1978 San Francisco Pride Parade and the 1978 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.
Perhaps piggy-backing British tabloid journalism of the 1950s and early 1960s whereby homophobia and fearmongering was published in popular newspaper media, Bryant used mass media including television, radio, newsprint, and organised political propaganda to campaign against equal rights for non-heterosexual people. The oppressive rhetoric of bigotry and homophobia replicated itself within Australian media and flourished within dominant mainstream culture, contributing to same-sex-attracted people, including the artist, experiencing intense feelings of isolation and self-loathing.
“Instead of eradicating Anita Bryant from existence, maybe mimicking a Christian history of book burnings to cancel ‘the work of the devil’, I want to remember her. Not without casualties, I recognise the irony of Anita Bryant promoting homosexuality to the masses. In the contemporary context of cancel culture ideology, permitting Anita Bryant’s words as monumental, I am asserting a kind of voice the anti-gay activist had sought to silence, to make invisible, to extinguish” – Troy-Anthony Baylis
This exhibition is part of Sydney World Pride 2023: www.sydneyworldpride.com