Queer Ecology Pop Up Exhibition
Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods, in partnership with the LGBTQ Center of Lake County, is seeking art submissions for a pop up exhibition on the topic of queer ecology. This exhibition will be from June 5 to July 3, 2022 in the Brushwood Center Gallery, as well as online. Deadline to apply is May 22, 2022.
What is Queer Ecology?
The western understanding of nature has severely limited our ability to see the natural world for its truth. It labeled nature as “wilderness”, a pristine picture devoid of human life, which paved the way for the violent removal of Indigenous people, and threatened the safety of ecosystems that had co-evolved with human caretakers for generations. This limited understanding can also be seen in the projection of concepts like the gender binary onto the natural world, even though we know full well that a great many beings cannot be easily categorized or explained within this binary. Queer ecology is the re-evaluation of how we understand the natural world through the lens of queer theory, with the goal of diversifying our narratives of nature. To quote writer Priya Subberwal from The Year’s Project:
“Queerness is an integral part of life on earth. Beyond human sexuality and gender, queerness refers to that which is beyond standard convention, that which is paradoxical, contradictory, and counterintuitive. Isn’t it queer the way some ecosystems demand fire and destruction to thrive? How strange is it that an octopus in the Pacific brooded over her eggs for 4 years, and no one knows why? Our natural world is always taking us by surprise, changing our minds, and proving us wrong. Unfortunately, our traditional ideas of nature do not lend themselves easily to this polyphony. This is where the queering of ecology comes in handy.”