Wednesday 22nd August

| BY Dino Bonacic

TEN’S TO SEE: DRAG: Self-portraits and Body Politics

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Renais sense (White Mask), 1974/2014
Giclee print
94 x 74 cm
Private collection, London

In the wake of current discussions revolving around gender within drag, there’s no exhibition more woke (sorry) than the one opening today at the Hayward Gallery. Drag: Self-portraits and Body Politics is all about the imagery of self-representation in drag – and not just the Rupaul’s Drag Race kind. The focus widens from the mainstream vision of queens and includes drag kings and bio drags, going beyond the traditional ideas of masculine and feminine. Starting with self-portraiture from 1960s and taking us all the way into present day, it explores a more contemporary perspective on gender within the industry of drag.

The artist in the exhibition discuss key cultural shifts from the past 50 years, with sub-topics in artworks ranging from feminism and trans issues, to the AIDS crisis and post-colonialism as a. All veiled within stunning imagery by photographers including Pierre Molinier, Robert Mapplethorpe and Cindy Sherman, painters like David Hoyle and Paul Kindersley, and many others. Proving that the purpose of drag isn’t only in mocking the archaic, conservative vision of gender, but also in fighting against the systems of oppression, Drag: Self-portraits and Body Politics grows beyond just an art exhibition. It’s a unique showcase of all the colourful beauty that is not-so-hidden just around the corner, two doors down from your average preconceptions of gender, identity, class, politics and race. This is a reminder to let go of what you think you know and step into the world of Drag – there is someone over there, waiting for you with open arms and a tube of lipstick.

Drag: Self-portraits and Body Politics is on display until October 14th at the Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre, 337-338 Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX. Admission free.

Samuel Fosso
Self-Portrait, 2008
Private Jean Marc Patras, Paris

Hunter Reynolds
Shhh (from Patina du Prey Drag Pose Series), 1990/2012
digital c-print mounted on centra
30 x 22 3/4 in. (76.2 x 57.79 cm) 
Photo credit: Michael Wakefeld
Courtesy of the artist, P.P.O.W and Hales Gallery