Work by lesbian artists


Work by lesbian artists

By Kath Tucker

SYDNEY — Among the multitude of offerings for this year's Mardi Gras festival — everything from the annual parade and party to a "shop till you drop" fundraiser and forums — the "inside out — girl you turn me" exhibition provided some of the more clearly visible lesbian content of the month-long festival.

An exhibition of lesbian art, under the umbrella of Word of Mouth III, it included some very interesting work.

A multimedia work entitled "Women don't get AIDS — they're just dying from it" featured a poster put out by the Terrence Higgins Trust in the UK. The poster baldly declared the low risk of oral sex and advised women to "throw away those dams", that gloves weren't necessary unless you had a fetish for them, and that most positive women contracted HIV by sharing needles or having sex with men.

The work angrily took up this issue, with a note pinned to the wall describing the confrontation that had occurred at an HIV/AIDS Conference in Copenhagen over the poster, and the general problem of visibility, awareness and education around lesbians and HIV/AIDS.

The ongoing struggle to get recognition for HIV-related health problems among positive women was also highlighted. Because no research has been done around problems faced by positive women, health problems classified as "AIDS-related" refer to men's diseases and do not include gynaecological problems such as pelvic infection or recurrent thrush.

A poster series on lesbian mothers included pictures of kids who have "two mothers", mothers with lesbian daughters and other images taken from within the community. The posters are for sale and play an important part in increasing the visibility of lesbians in the general community.