In April 2021 Balaclava.Q self-published new art book titled UN//TITLED An Anthology of Queer Contemporary Art // 2016-2020 to coincide with the 5 year anniversary of the project. This publication will act as both a portfolio and as an advocacy document to celebrate and elevate the Balaclava.Q art, artists and curatorial projects. UN//TITLED seeks to disrupt notions of traditional art book publishing by self-determining what queer contemporary art is, and can be. Ultimately an effort to make queer art more accessible to new audiences UN//TITLED is a celebratory piece of printed matter that provides a diverse and inclusive snapshot of the most compelling art and artists featured and promoted by Balaclava.Q.s.
UN//TITLED front cover 2021
by Artmando Bravo (MX) + Stiofan O’Ceallaigh (UK)
Balaclava.Q is an international queer art project and collective: connecting, promoting and creating platforms for queer artists. Our platforms and projects are safe spaces and promotes discourse around queer issues and activates artistic exploration of the queer aesthetic. Through interactions with artists globally Balaclava.Q develops and produces a series of tactics which will address queer concerns and issues.
BALACLAVA.Q (A DEFINITION)
BALACLAVA = A CLOSE-FITTING GARMENT COVERING THE WHOLE HEAD AND NECK EXCEPT FOR PARTS OF THE FACE, TYPICALLY MADE OF WOOL.
Balaclava.Q was created as a knee-jerk reaction to the Orlando, Florida (USA) killings in 2016 when 49 LGBTQ people were murdered and 53 others were wounded or seriously injured, not to mention the number of friends, families, partners and colleagues of the victims who will deeply have been affected. What makes this crime even more horrific is that in Florida one can be fired for being LGBTQ–thus, many of the survivors did not want any publicity. This was the largest mass murder of LGBTQ people since the Holocaust.
Here and now there is a global genocide targeting LGBTQ people, and added to this we must acknowledge the suicides, which predominantly affect young people, caused by fear, stigma and isolation.1 Almost every day we read yet another story in our newsfeed reporting on another person who has been killed simply because they exist. In our digital age we convey our outrage by sharing and commenting on posts, but we are still left with a feeling of helplessness, distance and hopelessness. This project is gravely important in helping people — specifically queer artists — share and connect their stories and experiences in particular ways. Art does not have the power to change laws or transform governments or religions, but it does aid in helping one see differently — and sharing this new way of seeing.
With all of the above stated, these tragic events and unnerving statistics gave me the confidence and drive to start Balaclava.Q—it is the intention that this project will develop organically as artist’s submissions and interactions manifest themselves.