Keira Thomas presents Worthing Museum’s first LGBTQIA+ exhibition, Out of the Artist

Out of the Artist is a multi-artist exhibition created by local poet, and event manager for Worthing Pride 2019, Keira Thomas.

The exhibition creates a safe and accepting space for local independent LGBTQIA+ artists to creatively share their voice and personal experiences, free from restrictions and discrimination. Out of the Artist has no strict theme, allowing the artists to create and portray whatever art they wish, in their chosen form or medium. It features work by Amelia Armande, Bryony May, Caroline Osella, Emma Clowsley, Gil Mualem-Doron, Helen Bedding, Joanna Barr, Kai Hilton, Karen Palzeaird, Keira Thomas, Kym Kovary, Leoni Thomas, LG, Mars Chicca, Robert Ryan, Stephanie Young and Tor Lloyd.

Logo created by Christian Francis

Out of the Artist will be presented at Worthing Museum and Gallery’s Studio Gallery from Saturday 27 May – Sunday 10 September 2023. 

Exhibition Creator & Coordinator Keira Thomas says “In my current chapter, allied with my significant journey of being a proud lesbian, alongside supporting the LGBTQIA+ community in various ways; I feel passionate about creating an open and safe space for local LGBTQIA+ artists to creatively express and share their voice.

The name, ‘Out of the Artist’, derives from the importance of each artist having entire freedom to share the individual voice that lies within them. 

Working collaboratively with ‘Worthing Museum & Art Gallery’ and local artists, to create the Museum’s first LGBTQIA+ exhibition, is a very proud and monumental milestone; aiming to inspire, encourage and support other LGBTQIA+ artists to share their voice, as well as individuals from other underrepresented communities.

A number of our exhibiting artists are members of the ‘LGBTQ+ Community of Worthing’ Facebook group, who are fully inclusive and warmly welcome you to join their flourishing community.

Full inclusivity is at the heart of the exhibition, which is represented amongst our exhibiting artists and their diverse, powerful and influential work. 

Proudly celebrating the innovative talents and bravery of our inspiring artists, we welcome all to visit the exhibition…and invite you to open your mind, ready to immerse yourself in creativity, and to be part of the progressive passage of Worthing.”

Gil Mualem-Doron, an award-winning transdisciplinary artist, researcher, curator and contributor to the exhibition, will be running 4 free workshops titled Planning Worthing LGBTQIA+ Beach, to ignite the artistic passion of the Worthing community. Gil’s art is based on his lived experiences of intersectionality as a migrant, person of colour, and neurodivergent queer. 

Out of the Artist will be showcased at Worthing Museum from Saturday 27 May – Sunday 10 September 2023. For more information, visit www.wtm.uk

Gil Mualem-Doron

To give you a taste of what to expect, we got to know some of the artists exhibiting…

Describe your artwork in three words. 

KAI HILTON: Bold. Colourful. Minimalist.

JOANNA BARR: Humanitarianism, love, non-representational

GIL MUALEM-DORON: Socially Engaged Art 

AMELIA ARMANDE: Colourful, Fun and Mythological

KAREN PALZEAIRD: Seascapes, Beauty and freedom

MARS CHICCA: Personal, chaotic, imperfect

KYM KOVARY: Challenging, honest, real

HELEN BEDDING: bold, colourful and big!

EMMA CLOWSLEY: Rhymes, pebbles, memories

Kai Hilton

What is your creative form or medium of choice? 

KAI HILTON: Adobe Illustrator is my go to design software, as for printing my work, I always go for Fine Art Giclée printing on Hahnemühle Photo Rag Ultra Smooth Paper.

JOANNA BARR: I’ve chosen to use acrylic paint for colour purposes. Oil paint and clay work are a typical go to though not featuring in the Out of the Artist exhibition.

GIL MUALEM-DORON: A collaborative storytelling created through various media and in this case performance, photography and installation art.

AMELIA ARMANDE: The pieces that I have brought to the gallery are digital remasterings of a series of watercolours I created for a display at Colonnade House last year. But they are inspired by my primary art form, which is performance storytelling. I have been collecting LGBTQIA+ folklore and mythology for the last two years, and look forward to being able to share the stories connected with the seven different artworks at the gallery.

KAREN PALZEAIRD: Generally Acrylic painting but also graphite pencil sketched drawings.

MARS CHICCA: Mixed media collage — I like to use a variety of objects and textures including photographs, drawings, letters, words cut from books or magazines, even bottles or computer chips and arrange them in a way that evokes a particular feeling or echoes a theme.

KYM KOVARY: Songwriting/video and broadcasting

HELEN BEDDING: My preferred medium is acrylic paint.

EMMA CLOWSLEY: Poetry 

Mars Chicca

What excites you most about the Out of the Artist exhibition?

KAI HILTON: The first exhibition in Worthing of It’s kind, as well as an amazing opportunity for us local LGBTQ artists to express ourselves in our chosen art medium.

JOANNA BARR: I’m excited that LGBTQIA Artist can collectively express through art. I’m extremely grateful to Keira Thomas for making this happen and to Worthing Museum.

GIL MUALEM-DORON: Being part of what I hope will become an LGBTQ+ artists’ collective.

AMELIA ARMANDE: It’s amazing to see all of these different styles and forms and themes all in one place. I think it shows how, even just in Worthing, the queer community is vibrant, thriving, and filled with creativity.

KAREN PALZEAIRD: Being free to express my thoughts and feelings in art form having spent my life struggling with my sexuality. It has given me confidence to draw and paint more.

MARS CHICCA: As someone who grew up queer in America in the 1980s and 90s, the sense of acceptance and belonging to a supportive community of like-minded people in Worthing has been helpful in healing from past shame and embarrassment over my gender identity and sexuality. 

KYM KOVARY: The thing that excites me most about being part of the exhibition is that being an LGBT exhibition, people are coming to see our work for that very reason.

HELEN BEDDING: I am excited about having the opportunity to exhibit alongside other LGBTQ artists.

EMMA CLOWSLEY: It’s a fantastic space for LGBTQ+ artists to express themselves through different art forms, share with the public

artwork by Mars Chicca

Where else can we find your artwork? 

KAI HILTON: You can find my artwork on Instagram @kaijedcreative, As well as on Etsy kaijedcreative.etsy.com

JOANNA BARR: My painting and models are rarely seen. A few originals have been sold or gifted in the past. both pieces shown in the Out Of The Artist exhibition have new homes already. 

GIL MUALEM-DORON: During May-June at P21 Gallery London, Jubilee Library Brighton, and online: www.gmdart.com

AMELIA ARMANDE: Follow me on Instagram at @theydyamelia to see more of my performances, writing and art.

KAREN PALZEAIRD: I have an Instagram and Facebook page… Instagram. @Kj25_01_art, Facebook KJ Art

KYM KOVARY: soundcloud.com/kymkovary, soundcloud.com/kymkovarypodcasts, youtube.com/@TheKymKovaryShow

HELEN BEDDING: You can find my artwork on Instagram, @hebe_artist 

EMMA CLOWSLEY: Instagram @emmacpoetry; Poetry pamphlet ‘Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush’ by Emma Clowsley (Flight of the Dragonfly Press) (Publisher based in Worthing)

More from exhibition curator Keira Thomas about her work with LGBTQ+ communities

Keira Thomas

“The importance of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, and for the principles of these fundamental pillars to be recognised and implemented in society, are deep-rooted in my values and beliefs. Both in which fuel my continual determination and hope to create positive change, to help make the world, wherever I can, a more kind, accepting and inclusive place. 

To ensure my words blossom into actions, I’ve been involved in a number of related projects; including being the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Champion for the Division of Student Experience at the University of Sussex. I am also one of the Co-chairs of the LGBTQ+ Staff Network; helping to further develop an inclusive and supportive culture throughout the University. 

Volunteering as an Open Minds Champion for West Sussex Mind, I help to raise awareness of mental health within the community, in order to challenge stigma. Mental health is very close to the heart for me. I believe and demonstrate that it is healthy to talk about mental health, and want those who experience poor or ill mental health, to know they are not alone.

Alongside this role, I am a Mental Health First Aider at the University of Sussex; to support colleagues who may be experiencing difficulties. 

Working in various roles, I have an education background at Greater Brighton Metropolitan College and Chichester College, of supporting students from various backgrounds, in inclusion programmes of study, including students with various needs, such as Special Educational Needs, as well as social, emotional and mental health needs. 

Further to this, I was on the Equality & Diversity Board at Greater Brighton Metropolitan College; working with colleagues to incorporate Equality, Diversity and Inclusion into the College culture and working practices. 

In addition, I started an LGBTQ+ group for students at our Worthing campuses. I also organised the college’s and student involvement in Worthing Pride 2018/19.

I was on the Event Management Team as one of the organisers of Worthing Pride in 2019. It was the second year that the event took place, and it was truly amazing to be part of an event that took Pride back to it’s original roots of what ‘Pride’ represents. 

In addition, I was the Creator of and responsible for organising and managing Worthing’s first Proud Prom, which was a pre-Pride charity event, wherefore we proudly raised money for Hope Charity Project

In 2021/22, I was the Team Lead of LGBTQ+ Community of Worthing Facebook group, where I worked with the Founders and fantastic team of volunteers, to enhance and grow the LGBTQ+ social and support network, in person and online, within Worthing and surrounding areas. 

I really admire the work the group do, especially the grassroots events they organise, to ensure the event is also accessible to those who may not be able to afford to, or do not want to pay for, a Pride event that charges for ticketing. To celebrate Pride this year, the group have organised the People’s Proud Picnic 2023, which takes place at Victoria Park, Worthing, on Saturday 08 July at 13:00 and is FREE to attend. The group welcome you to get in touch with them via Facebook if you have any questions, or would like to entertain at the event. 

As a fun and experiential hobby, and to reach an audience through writing, I write for Out News Global (online magazine), which gives insights about LGBTQ+ events that I visit. 

Having written poetry since I was a teenager, as a way to express myself – in 2021, I contributed several pieces of poetry to Pride in Worthing – an LGBTQ+ exhibition at Colonnade House, curated by Amelia ‘Ace’   Armande (one of our exhibiting artists). Being a part of that exhibition reminded me that feeling vulnerable, which I did when showing my work to the public for the first time, can lead to wonderful possibilities…and in 2022, my poetry submission was chosen for the Waves of Inspiration exhibition by Creative Waves Community Arts, which is showcased on Worthing Pier.

And now, in the exciting midst of my latest passion project, I introduce…Out of the Artist

All of these experiences have had their many highs, and some challenges – but most importantly, they’ve reached out and helped others; many from marginalised communities… resulting in one small step for human, and one giant leap for humankind.”

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