Bailey is a curator and photographic artist who explores cultural discourse through imagery and visual exhibitions. She has had work featured at the International AIDS 2014 Cultural Program, WE ARE HERE at the State Library of Victoria in 2018 and Dapper at Melbourne’s Midsumma Festival in 2019.
Her research for the Frank Van Straten Fellowship will result in The GLAD Project, an exploration into the often secreted queer lives of performance artists.
“One of the initial inspirations was a reference to the pink and mauve flower posies that used to be thrown down to the stage at Gladys Moncrieff’s performance by her fans – the ‘gallery girls’,” said Bailey.
“There are queer stories and queer icons across the full breadth of the Australian Performing Arts Collection and through the starting point of Gladys Moncrieff, Elsie and her Gallery Girls, this project is an opportunity to further bring out and highlight these queer lives and connections, and to open up the Collection for broader discovery.”
The project will result in a multi-faceted creative work with an online exhibition, physical installation as well as a performative element. The work is expected to be presented around June 2023 in line with Pride Month and the Stonewall Anniversary.
“A broader outcome of The GLAD Project is a better recognition of the lived experiences of queer lives and queer stories in collections, and to better reference these lives in an historic context,” said Bailey.
“I hope audiences are inspired by LGBTIQ+ stories from the Collection, within a predominantly heteronormative Collection narrative, to reference and highlight the lived queer experience.”
Previous recipients of the Frank Van Straten Fellowship include Dr Kate Rice (Performing The Past, 2020) and Cathy Pryor (Rare flowers and golden butterflies, 2021). The fellowship is made possible through the generous contribution of the Frank Van Straten AM and Adrian Turley Foundation.
Frank played a pivotal role in the establishment of the Australian Performing Arts Collection in the late 1970s and was the founding director and first archivist of what was then the Performing Arts Museum. Arts Centre Melbourne has been the proud custodian of the Collection since its creation in the early 1980s.
Today the Australian Performing Arts Collection is the nation’s leading collection of performing arts materials, documenting Australia’s circus, dance, music, opera and theatre heritage. It consists of over 750,000 objects including costumes, designs, programs, photographs, posters, props, personal memorabilia and archival material.
Image: Angela Bailey (supplied)