Fighting 4 Queerz at Pride in Hull 2018

Two weeks on and time to reflect and collate some of the feedback on Fighting 4 Queerz the Back To Ours commission for Pride in Hull 2018. 

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Lead Artist Gareth Chambers Fighting 4 Queerz Pride In Hull 2018.  Picture: Jerome Whittingham @Photomoments

Our initial ‘warm up’ around William Wilberforce statue was met with a certain confusion, the majority of the crowd were already in their various sections of the parade away from where we were circling and stretching. We were a magnet for photographers and a number snapped us in our boxing gloves.

Upon joining the crowd we were welcomed cautiously by some and eagerly by others the younger members of the parade became animated by our tough rock and metal tracks Nine Inch Nails, Rage Against the Machine perhaps chiming with their own personal struggles.

‘Look at the boxers!’  came the cries from the pubic lining the streets, with lots more opportunity for posing and pictures. I’m not sure whether they understood why we were there, what it was we were representing or how we were subverting LGBT stereotypes, but many people interacted with us.

Men, women and children bunched their fists echoing sparring and boxed the air as we passed shadow boxing and sparring with each other. There was cheering and shouting all along the streets an initial look of surprise from the crowd but then a sort of feeling of ‘there just happened to be boxers in the parade

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Fighting 4 Queerz Picture: Jerome Whittingham

During the stop off sequences I could hear people openly encouraging each one of us and cheering when we landed a punch. Breaking free of the parade line and performing amidst the crowd, was exciting for us and for them I think. It became more of an interactive immersive experience. Having the security present with us right the way around kept us safe and added something to the theatre of it all as did our boom box falling like Terry Pratchett’s Luggage.

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Fighting 4 Queerz on Beverley Gate Picture: Jerome Whittingham

You can see from some of the feedback I’ve gathered below that we definitely made an impression on  Pride 2018. I have always believed that LGBT was never will never be just about one thing it is not a label, or a day-glo box, it is about all things and everything, expressed through an individual’s experience.

It may have been a surprise to see boxers and boxing represented in the parade, but to their credit the coaches at St. Paul’s Boxing Academy, just saw us as another member of the community who wanted to learn from them and train.

Public Feedback

  • I really enjoyed and appreciated the presence of the community ‘boxing’ project Fighting For Queerz throughout the Pride Parade in 2018. The performances led me to understand that Pride is not only a moment of celebration and glorification of how far we have come. Marching in a parade with various institutions -who do not need to be named at his point – often neglects the struggles of individuals. The individual fights are a result of structural discrimination of LGBTIQ people, which still exists in our contemporary society. Gareth Chambers and the participants formulated in beautiful terms that such individual fights need further visibility. In performative acts, they did not only show me their inner strength and power but as well as well the tenderness and care which marks the struggles the LGBTIQ community faces. 
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Picture: Jerome Whittingham

  • You all looked so fierce in the boxing section. Great parade
  • The pink boxing gloves !!! was very happy to see you in the parade Michelle
  • Photos look amazing that I’ve seen
  • I liked the boxing, out of the box concept. Was pleased I got to see the boxing as I used to be a kick boxer
  • Boxing/fighting definitely has a strong connection for the message. People might have thought you were advertising a boxing club if they didn’t read the banners or know about the project. The general public usually assume that they are being sold something. Especially since the parade is full of sponsors and advertising. It was a shame that there were not more participants.

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    Sparring Fighting 4 Queerz Picture: Jerome Whittingham

  • I knew a bit about Fighting For Queers anyway so got the idea about fighting for rights/ understanding/ more fights to come and that we need to celebrate the fighting and resilience of people who have worked to change people thinking etc but felt it needed a bigger presence and the parade kind of past it by. I thought you 3 did great but it needed more people (perhaps an even number so a number of sparring partners could be seen at each time) and perhaps to feel more integrated in the parade- which I think it managed in Beverley Gate- I’m not sure that people who didn’t know about fighting for queers really got it – last year when there was the 50 people artworks there were 2017 vols and leaflets to explain it. I watched from guildhall and also Beverley Gate – Beverley Gate gate was better as the parade had to come around it but the action happened in that amphitheatre- there were some issues with sight lines here though. I thought the change in music was quite good as marking that change from happy parade- to fighting. I liked the costumes – thought they made you look like a group -but still individuals. I thought it was an interesting concept and I think that including something that makes you question your thinking is good in the parade rather than just a straight forward but sugar-coated view of pride but the nature of parades makes it a tricky situation to work with. 

• Such a powerful image, seeing you looking tough and resilient, I know you’re those things anyway but this displays it so well.

For more photos by Jerome Whittingham @Photomoments see Gallery 

Also @Photomoments (training inside St Paul’s Boxing Academy Hull) Here

Read Participant Blog Part One and Part Two 

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Fighting 4 Queerz at Pride in Hull 2018 Picture: Jerome Whittingham (outfitted by Beatniks Clothing and Beasleys Hull)

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