March 16, 2020

National Museum Wales In Cardiff Aim to Revel LGBT Secrets Kept by Enacted Laws

Image result for Queen Victoria and lived in Rome with fellow painter Penry Williams.

For decades LGBT voices went almost unheard - not least because of laws that made gay relationships a crime. 
Limited reform came with the Sexual Offences Act 1967 but it was not until 2013 same-sex marriage was made legal.
Whatever the law, art has always depicted gay themes and been made by LGBT people. 
Now National Museum Wales in Cardiff has begun a series of "queer tours" of the stories behind them.

Owain Rhys
Image captionOwain Rhys said the project was an "eye-opener"

They came about after the institution's volunteering and engagement chief Owain Rhys met freelance curator Dan Vo. 
"We commissioned Dan to research artwork and to pick the ones with the most interesting connections to LGBTQ+ and we went from there," Mr Rhys said.
The tours, organised in association with Pride Cymru, take in work by Swansea's Cedric Morris, Haverfordwest's Gwen John and Conwy's John Gibson. 
John became obsessed with a woman she sent paintings to named Vera Oumancoff.
Gibson made several portraits of Queen Victoria and lived in Rome with fellow painter Penry Williams. 
"This is part of a wider piece of work we are doing to do with cultural democracy, inclusivity and representation," Mr Rhys said. 

National Museum WalesImage copyrightGEOGRAPH/PHILIP HALLING
Image captionCurator Dan Vo said the tours took them into almost every gallery of the museum

He called the project an "eye opener".
"Having a person telling you a story in person is much more engaging than having it on a panel," Mr Rhys said. 
Curator Dan Vo said works in the tours were either made by an LGBT artist, or the subject was, or they were "something our community has made part of our story".
Mr Vo said: "We got to go into almost every single gallery of the collection and look at the different ways you can tell stories.
"In the past LGBTQ+ stories have gone untold because they were taboo. 
"That is something that has changed in the last ten years.
"Museums understand more their place in understanding and shaping their community and culture now. 
The tours begin on Sunday 15 March and will be held on the third Sunday of each month for at least six months.

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