katelyn geard street art hobart tasmania
Photo: Art by Katelyn Geard.
News, Tasmania

Street art brings Tasmanian LGBTIQA+ history to Hobart

New street art representing Tasmania’s LGBTIQA+ history was unveiled in Hobart on Sunday.

Lord Mayor Anna Reynold and former Lord Mayor Rob Valentine joined local LGBTIQA+ community representatives including artist Katelyn Geard for the event.

The unveiling coincided with the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Transphobia and Intersexism (IDAHOBIT) on Monday 17 May, which highlights and challenges discrimination against LGBTIQA+ people.

As part of the new street art project, two traffic signal boxes have been painted to celebrate the community and commemorate significant events.

The signal box at the corner of Argyle and Macquarie Streets outside the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery has been painted by Geard with historic scenes that are drawn together by a serpentine pink thylacine.

The Macquarie Street signal box represents a number of historical events and artifacts, including the oldest surviving photo of a same-sex couple in Australia, taken in Hobart in the 1890s.

It also commemorates the production of gender-transgressive film Jewelled Nights in Tasmania in 1925, along with the first LGBTIQA+ contingent in the Hobart Christmas Pageant in 1991. 

Geard’s work also represents the arrests at Salamanca Market in 1988 of 130 gay rights activists, who were campaigning for law reform and distributing safe sex information, and the official apology given in 2008 by then Lord Mayor Valentine.

These images were chosen to resonate with the site of the art, near the Town Hall where the 2008 apology was given and across the street from the cinema where Jewelled Nights star Louise Lovely went on to have a lolly shop. 

Another traffic signal box in Murray Street outside Centrepoint Shopping Centre has been painted by Piper Raynor to celebrate Hobart’s LGBTIQA+ Pride Parades.

The painted signal boxes were commissioned by the Hobart City Council and are a joint project of Equality Tasmania, TasPride, and Urban Smart.

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