Art of gay marriage

MONICA TISCHLER
Last updated 07:24 08/02/2013
Pride Fest

CELEBRATING DIVERSITY: New Lynn resident Cathy Head works on a piece of art for the I Do, I Don’t exhibition as part of the 2013 Auckland Pride Festival.

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Cathy Head is using art as a way to express her thoughts on the marriage equality bill.

The New Lynn resident is among five lesbian artists involved in the exhibition I Do, I Don't.

Their work will also pose questions and provoke thoughts among viewers.

"My work is a humorous look at the wedding amendment. It's an ambivalent view," she says.

"Part of me thinks we should have the same rights because it's homophobia but I can also see ‘why would you want to buy into a thing that seems to be failing quite badly in society'?"

The exhibition is part of the Auckland Pride Festival and is organised by Pulseart, a group of Auckland-wide lesbian artists.

Artworks include paintings and sculptures of horses' bridles made out of lace and a wedding cake made of broken crockery.

Ms Head worked as a stonemason in Bristol before she moved to New Zealand in 2010 after meeting her partner here.

She will showcase a collection of about five pieces including His and His, and Her and Her coat hooks.

Another of her pieces includes the words "a loved friend" engraved on to Portuguese limestone in the shape of a gravestone.

"It's about recognition of all these people who weren't out in the past, and had to lead secret lives because it was illegal.

"It makes me quite emotional," she says.

Ms Head, 46, came out to friends and family when she was 19 and says despite coming from a religious family, she was supported.

"It was a bit of a shock but I was very lucky, they were very supportive.

"I went to art college when I was 19 and I think it's very accepted in the art world, it's very liberal," she says.

This year is Auckland's first pride parade and festival since the Hero festival ended five years ago.

There are 28 registered entries and West Auckland is the only area outside the city celebrating the event, with Heroes Out West.

It includes an upmarket picnic and live entertainment.

Heroes Out West organiser Cissy Rock says it's a good opportunity for people living in the suburbs to celebrate diversity.

"It's about celebrating identity and showing there's no need to be ashamed or worried," Ms Rock says.

Ms Head says the festival will heighten people's awareness and put gays and lesbians in the forefront.

"That's why I love living out west, there's an eclectic mix and people are eccentric.

"It's a really nice place to be," she says. "There are all different kinds of people."

The Auckland Pride Festival will run for two weeks from today until February 24. Heroes Out West will take place at Falls Park in Henderson on February 17 from 4pm till 8pm.

Visit aucklandpridefestival.org.nz or lowdown.org.nz for more information about Heroes Out West and the festival.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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