What the Plus (+)

LGBTQ2S+ Group Art Exhibition and Festival in Powell River, BC

SUMMER 2021 – ‘Creative Self-Portraits ~ Beyond the Selfie’

 Although LBGQT2S stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, Queer/Questioning and 2-Spirited, the plus (+) that is usually included after the initialism encompasses a list of other identities that fall under the queer umbrella.


JULY 22 – AUGUST 7, 2021

(Tues, Thurs & Sat Noon-5PM at The Art Centre qathet Public Art Gallery just above the Powell River Public Library at
215 – 6975 Alberni Street Powell River, BC, Canada V8A 2B8)


Meet Our 13 Exhibition Artists!

We live and work on the homelands and territories of the Tla’amin People. We honour the land, the Tla’amin People and their treaty and continually seek to strengthen our relationship and responsibilities to them as guests in the territory.
Register today- just a few spots left email whattheplusart@gmail.com

Zoom in!

Topic: LGBTQ+ Memoir Workshop – with andrea bennett
Time: Jul 31, 2021 02:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 867 6341 1039
Passcode: Memoir

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Curator’s Statement

Welcome to What the Plus (+) 2021: our themed show this year celebrates the queer self-portrait, as a way to further develop our local LGBTQS2+ conversation begun last year, as we strive toward greater visibility and understanding. 

Self-portraiture holds a particular place in the history of the visual arts, with artists revealing themselves at work, leisure, or play, at different ages and stages in life, in elaborate costumes and roles, and even as unacknowledged guests in works otherwise concerned with other matters: as extras in their own productions.

Ranging from the defiant mug shot, to the floridly theatrical, to different levels of abstraction, creative self portraiture can provide everything from an exclusive peek at the wizard behind the curtain, to a play on the very impossibility of a fixed, or even reveal-able identity, made all the more pronounced when the artist’s own physical body does not match their true felt gender.

Exuberant queer self-representation, both in art and in daily life, is a political act, and partly a reaction to (and a result of) being an invisible minority that only becomes visible upon its actively ‘acting out’ its personal truths and desires. Passing as straight at least some of the time, is still the norm, especially where gender non-conformity is cause for alarm, derision, rejection and even violence.

When queer identity does emerge, it may do so not only through our art, words and relationships, but through clothing choices, body sculpting and adornment, as well as surgical modifications. These actions serve to transform our outer selves to be more in tune with our inner selves; to feel comfortable in our own skin, and to ‘find the others’.

LGBTQ2S+ self-portraiture is then not a narcissistic exercise where we inevitably end up revealing what amounts to a cartoon sketch of ourselves: a suspect document rife with performance, lies and wishful thinking. But it is here– between the lines of text, musical notes, brush strokes or film frames, and underneath the make-up, clothes, tattoos or jewellery, that the truth is revealed. It’s perhaps not so much the visual representation of the artist itself within a self-portrait that reveals the subject, but the creative choices they made to get there.

I hope you enjoy this exhibition, and also look up our artists online to gain a fuller understanding of our work.

-Giovanni Spezzacatena (Rabideye) curator of What the Plus (+)

As we did last year, we will pay close attention to BC Health Guidelines regarding COVID-19 precautions we must take to ensure the safety of all involved.

DISCUSSIONS (see details here)

Prashant Miranda showed us his diary-sketchbooks

Date: Opening evening Thursday, July 22 at 5:30 PM at The Art Centre qathet Public Art Gallery (above the Powell River Public Library) with introduction by Koosen Pielle

LGTBQ+ Memoir Workshop: How to Write the Self, When the Self Is in Flux, with author andrea bennett
Date: July 31, 2021 at 2-4PM – Live, in person (limited seating) and Zoom option

Location: At The Art Centre qathet Public Art Gallery (above the Powell River Public Library) Length: 2 hours. Please reserve a seat via email: whattheplusart@gmail.com (Limited space; following Public Health Orders, facemasks required)

Description: This workshop will give tips and tricks about how to research and write memoir as a queer person, even if—or especially if—one’s self-conception has changed over the course of one’s life. We’ll begin with a writing exercise, talk about some techniques for researching and writing, and discuss some publication basics.

This workshop will be given by andrea bennett, a National Magazine Award–winning writer and editor, and the author of Like a Boy but Not a Boy, a CBC Books’ pick for the top Canadian nonfiction of 2020.

We thank our sponsors for our 2020 What the Plus + Festival (see below)

Check out last year’s Summer 2020 line-up

Content © giovanni spezzacatena 2021 except for theyday recording which is © andrea k. bennett 2020. Free use of spezzacatena content with permission. giovanni@rabideye.com