To celebrate re-emergence this group show gathers together a diverse collection of LGBTQIA artists whose multi-disciplinary work examines the subversive dark depths of English Pagan history, exploring a lost world of rituals, rites, fantasy, legend, myth, rumour and gossip.
Shortly after the devastation of WW2, creatives from the burgeoning counter-culture started to reject concepts and constraints of established religions as they explored and examined other belief systems and spiritual paths. By the late '60s this had exploded intoPop Culture with stars seeking exotic enlightenment in India, cool young black musicians being drawn to Rastafarianism and entertainers chanting to Buddha and singing Hare Krishna. As most existing mainstream religions were deeply steeped in homophobic hatred, LGBTQ people invariably looked to other beliefs and ideologies for personal and creative inspiration.
British Paganism is seen by many as bizarre, unsettling and scary - a dark religion, steeped in sexual rituals, witches, warlocks and the worship of nature. This non-confirmity is extremely appealing to artists who question the formality and prejudices of traditional religions. And the very fact that our own ancient belief systems were destroyed by the invasion of Christianity fuels further interest from outcasts who have been rejected by the Church.
The artists contributing to this exhibition, examine and explore British Paganism with a vibrant sense of exoticism, intrigue and playfulness. Together they create work that lies somewhere between reality, illusion and imagination. Did these characters and stories really exist or are they just, myth, legend, rumour and hot gossip?
The Arts Council England