We also asked for love: Gay men’s narrative portraits of resilience and resistance

This exhibition is a collaboration between Edgar Rodríguez-Dorans and visual artist Eleonora Scalise creating a new body of work based on the concept of narrative portrait. Open to everyone!

We also asked for love: Gay men’s narrative portraits of resilience and resistance

About We also asked for love: Gay men’s narrative portraits of resilience and resistance

Supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland, this project creates a new body of work based on the concept of 'narrative portraiture'. Visual artist Eleonora Scalise responds to research conducted by Dr Edgar Rodríguez-Dorans (Research Fellow at the Centre for Creative-Relational Inquiry) with ten gay men from different ages and backgrounds. The resulting narrative portraiture artwork is inspired by anonymous interviews with gay men.

‘Narrative portraiture’ establishes a dialogue between visual arts and narrative research. It uses anonymised narrative data from research interviews to inspire portraits of people who have never been seen by the artist. Because of the sensitive topics discussed in research interviews, personal data are often anonymised and participants’ life stories become faceless stories in academic journals. The written word becomes privileged and the face, the body, and even the human qualities of the people who shared their stories often get lost in scientific reports. Because research findings cannot exist without the people who provided their narratives, this exhibition aims to capture the metaphorical aspects of the stories and create images of the people who told them.

‘When we were given sex, we also asked for love: gay men’s narrative portraits of resilience and resistance’ is a collaboration between Edgar Rodríguez-Dorans, expert in the study of gay men’s identities, and artist Eleonora Scalise, who has worked extensively in the genre of portraiture. Edgar researches lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer relationships and identities from a perspective of mental health and embraces an interdisciplinary perspective. He is interested in the dialogue between arts and qualitative research in social science. He thinks that the importance of this project lies on the need to remind the viewer that, although the sensitivity of their stories requires participants’ identities to remain anonymous, research findings emerge from full-fleshed people and the medium of narrative portraiture gives these narratives a face and body.

Eleonora Scalise – who is experienced in painting dramatic portraits and has conveyed complex themes such as multiculturalism, gender, tragedy and despair through her artwork – has read the anonymised narratives of the gay men who participated in the study. She perceives in them an ambivalent sense of hopelessness and resilience, love and resistance in the often-sexualised stories of these men. By imagining who are the men behind the stories, Eleonora painted ten portraits based on the real-life stories represented in the narrative data.
The portraits, along with the narratives that inspired them, will be shown at a public, free exhibition as part of the activities of Pride Month.

While we take every opportunity to ensure the details for We also asked for love: Gay men’s narrative portraits of resilience and resistance are accurate, we always advise that you contact the event organiser before setting out for the event to avoid disapointment.

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