Artist Sam Vale's latest project is 'Latent: A hidden history', and marks the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Sexual Offenders Act that was the beginning of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in the UK. Vale uses archival pictures taken at the British seaside from a time when homosexuality was still illegal and selects tiny background figures that are then magnified, suggesting possible moments of intimacy between the men. The process creates blurry images that point towards lives that could not be lived in the open. Stories that can only be imagines and are lost to history. Obscured and out of focus, the re-worked photographs serve as a memorial and tribute to the many lives and loves lived in secret, behind closed doors.
Linking both to LGBT History Month, and the recently passed 'Turing Law' posthumously pardoning 50,000 gay men in the UK, 'Latent' will be on at the Sidney Cooper Gallery in Canterbury from March 1st to May 6th.