Jenny Papalexandris: Five Bells: Being LGBT in Australia
“…my impulse is to “sense” rather than to “see.”–Jenny Papalexandris
Australian photographer Jenny Papalexandris recently released the book Five Bells: Being LGBT in Australia made up of eight visual narratives of everyday life among queer-identifying people, “from joyful images of weddings and family gatherings to more contemplative portraits of rural youth and asylum seekers. In so doing, the book presents a series of neither caricatures nor stereotypes but of individuals—active agents in the universal quest for happiness, intimacy, respect, and a sense of belonging. This is the human face of the queer community in Australia, and these beautifully crafted photographs, in black-and-white and in color, show us the personal and psychological landscape of what it means to be part of a community that is as vibrant as it is diverse.” The book includes an introduction by Fiona Skyring.
“In a country known as one of the most queer-friendly nations in the world, federal laws protect queer people from discrimination, transgender Australians are recognized legally as their preferred gender, and the renown of Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival has reached far across its borders.”
The “Five Bells” of the title of the book is from a poem by the late Australian poet Kenneth Slessor. It is in part a eulogy to his friend Joe Lynch who drowned in Sydney Harbour. Slessor also mourns the fleeting nature of human communication corrupted by time and death. In the ongoing conversation between the LGBT community and mainstream society recognition sometimes feels transient, and too much subject to the vagaries of politics.
Jenny Papalexandris is a visual artist based in Australia. She exhibits both nationally and internationally. She participated in the Ten Diez International Art Event, Spain (2013); Album: Telling with Light exhibition, Italy (2013). She has exhibited extensively in the U.S. at the Darkroom Gallery (2013); Center for Fine Art Photography, Colorado (2014); Gallery 1650 in Los Angeles (2014)
The photographs presented in this book were made possible by a commission from Jon Stryker: philanthropist, architect, and photography devotee.
Funding for Five Bells Being LGBT in Australia has been generously provided by the Arcus Foundation a global foundation dedicated to the idea that people can live in harmony with one another and the natural world. The Foundation works to advance respect for diversity among peoples and in nature.
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