in our spring garden explores the complexities of representing queer gendered experiences outside of binary frameworks. Photographer Samson Dell reflects on the challenges of capturing the fluidity of their collaborators' identities in static images, emphasising the constant state of transition and renegotiation. The focus shifts to community, relationships, and self-identity within a queer context, moving away from stereotypical depictions. This exhibition celebrates the rhythm of queer communities, navigating visibility and invisibility, and preserving the ebb and flow amidst changing external perspectives on queerness.
The concept of the "queer elsewhere", as posited by Bragg (2021), and the cyclical nature of gardens serve as frameworks for this exhibition, creating spaces for diverse queer existences without the need for rigid definitions. The "queer elsewhere" encapsulates a contemporary space for queer existence that operates outside mainstream norms and offers a sense of safety and recognition. It provides a departure from traditional societal expectations, allowing queer people to navigate their identities subtly yet authentically. This elsewhere becomes a refuge where the complexities of queer life can be explored without conforming to rigid definitions, fostering a sense of belonging and freedom.
Likewise, the cyclical nature of gardens serves as a metaphor for the ebb and flow of queer communities. Gardens, with their continuous cycles of growth, blossoming, and decomposition, mirror the lifecycles and transformations within queer subcultures. The cyclical pattern symbolises resilience and adaptation, acknowledging the ever-changing landscape of queer existence. In celebrating this cyclical nature, Samson dignifies and preserves the diverse experiences within the queer community. The garden becomes a symbolic space where queer identities flourish and endure.
Image: Kawakawa (2024) by Samson Dell.