Celebrating Leith and North Edinburgh January 2012
Elsewhere on Leith & North:
LGBT Lives Exhibition 2011
Leith Festival Arts 2009
Edinburgh Mela 2010
Return of the Soul
Parallel Lives 2: On Tour
Edinburgh Poetry Garden
Dialogues of Wind & Bamboo
104 pairs of shoes exhibition
Leith & North: Please email any news items to: news@leithandnorth.org.uk LGBT Lives - March 2011 : So why LGBT Art then? Long view of parts of "Does Reform Reform you?" (see alt tags below for more details) ^^^ Above: Jo Clifford launches the exhibition as David Thomas stands waiting to read Edwin Morgan's "GGLC"

The LGBT Lives Exhibition ran from March 25th to 31st in the Old Drill Hall, Dalmeny St. The Exhibiton was organised by LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender) Centre for Health & Wellbeing, celebrating and giving expression to the varied voices and experiences of some 40 LGBT artists.

Opening the event, Marushka Greenwood spoke of people's "marginalisation and invisibilty", and of how damaging this can be to their health and wellbeing. Poet and playwright Jo Clifford (pictured above,) spoke with joy and inspiration of seeing all the visions displayed "cutting an imaginary ribbon, and cracking open an imaginary bottle of champagne, and naming this ship “The Amazing Exhibition”. You can read the rest of Jo's beautiful words, recollected, at the foot of this page.

LGBT Centre for Health and Wellbeing site >>>

A woman serves mothers and small children at a table with Edwin Muir's "GGLC" on display behind themWoman speaking with the next speakers watching on Left <<<: View of Edwin Muir's GGLC
Right >>>: Marushka Greenwood introducing the launch of the exhibition.

"Our creativity is our humanity." Jo Clifford .

Below: The Loud and Proud Choir performing at the launch of LGBT Lives, March 2011

Men and women in shades of black stand singing in harmony "Come all ye persons of goodwill...For this is where we all can meet/Down by the river in Dixon Street and the Broomielaw rolls onto the sea with the happy cargo of the GGLC" Edwin Morgan "GGLC", 1996 .

The Tower of Leith video installation in full Four older men looking at photographs Left <<<: Art Therapy by.
Right >>>:
An artist talks to his friends about his photographs of Edinburgh in the winter of 2010-11.

The artists whose work made up LGBT Lives expressed their experiences with many different voices, some of which are illustrated on Leith & North. Some as you might expect, celebrated the human body, and love. Some like Edwin Morgan's collage poem "GGLC" (pictured right) were directly celebratory and inspirational - Edwin's description of his coming out as his 70th birthday present to himself, was very touching; some used landscape photography, which showed signs of human passage and sharing, that suggested that people had been there, yet made no judgements about who and what their lifestyles might be.

There was also a conceptual piece about attaching labels to people which was unusually effective.

Painting of two women Two women and a man seated round a table discussing badges Left <<<: Detail of "Good news ( Madonna with angel)" by Raj Ahmed. "The Madonna mirrors her self as an angel with the self realization of her inner pure Maricel. Angels ... are part of our-self, pure shadow of ourself" writes the artist
Right >>>:
Different coloured balls catalogued in containers - green, pink, blue, yellow, sky and red Painting of an olive grove in bloom with a woman in yellow shirt and blue jeans in the background Left <<<: "Labeling": Plastic Balls placed in containers labeled RACE, DISABILITY, SEXUAL ORIENTATION, AGE, GENDER, RELIGION)
Right >>>: Detail of Botanical Wildlife Artist Anne Gilchrist's "Olive Grove" with her wife seen in the distance .
LGBT Centre for Health and Wellbeing site >>>
Jo Clifford's web site >>>
Loud and Proud Choir web site >>>
Out of the Blue web site >>>

Opening greeting from Jo Clifford

Hello ladies, hello gentlemen.
Hello men, hello women,
Hello those of you who are not ladies and are not gentlemen,
And not men and not women
but like me
maybe something in between or maybe something thatís a bit of both or something
or somebody
that has never been thought of or imagined yet
Somebody or something this evening may even bring into being.


How pleased I am to be here, and how eminent I feel, I should really have been wearing a big frock with big shoes and the most enormous hat and be able to crack open a bottle of champagne on something and bless this boat ... and even though this isnít a boat, it's an old army drill hall I still wanted to bless everyone very seriously because what is happening here tonight is so very special.

It isnít in our nature to be entrepreneurs or bankers but it is in our nature to be creative. Research shows early humans invented singing before talking. That before we communicated through words we communicated through song. And then we shared poems and amazing stories and painted wonderful pictures on the walls of our caves... and in sharing our creativity we are re-entering something really profound in our humanity.

Iím lucky, for two reasons. One for being transgender. And in contradiction to everything I have been taught about it, to be transgender is actually an amazing prvilege and blessing.

The other thing is being able to use my creativity. Because without it Iíd never have been able to stand up to the discrimination and prejudice from which we all suffer.

It would have been the end of me.

And I have seen in the amazing work of the transgendered writing group, Transforming Arts, just how profoundly art transforms everyone who is able to create it.

And thatís why this is a boat, because everyone taking part is on the journey, and the health centre is on a journey, a good journey through choppy waters where we re-connect with who we really are, and our pride in who we really are, and we contradict prejudice and show the world our amazing gifted diversity.

So I am cutting an imaginary ribbon -SNIP - and cracking open an imaginary bottle of champagne - CRACK! - and naming this ship ďThe Amazing ExhibitionĒ and Goddess bless all of us who sail in her.
With heartfelt thanks to Jo Clifford for recollecting her words as closely as possible.

View of the three towers looking towards the cafeteria area