A person with a beaming smile poses excitedly for a portrait, with hands stretched triumphantly above their head.
An individual dressed to the nines, shows off their flashy colourful outfit.
A couple embraces in a passionate kiss.
These are the faces of the Cranbrook LGBTQ2IA+ community, shown through the Faces of Pride art exhibit, which debuts June 8 at Key City Theatre.
The exhibit is a collection of photographs of people — young, old, colourful, casual, single and coupled — taken by internationally renowned Cranbrook artist Joel Robison. Robison captures the heart and soul of each person he photographs through his whimsical art style, that places people and things in a world of playful fantasy.
On each canvas is a picture within a picture, or more specifically, the hands of a person holding their own portrait. Painted nails, worn skin, finger tattoos and sentimental rings tell as detailed a story as the faces and bodies they are supporting.
The photos are more than just a works of creative expression, however.
They tell the story of young people who are filled with hope and promise for a bright future.
Lovers who have pushed past obstacles in order to be together.
A person who hid their identity for years and is finally coming out to the public for the first time.
The project reflects the simple joy of living life as you are on your own terms and of owning your identity.
Forty-some portraits will line the walls at Key City on June 8. Each of the photographs will have a QR code that can be scanned to read more about people in the photos and their personal story. Viewers will also get the chance to meet project participants.
Mile High Club — an energetic band that plays top 40 hits and 80s classics — will provide live musical entertainment for the dance. Attendees are encouraged to wear their craziest and most colourful clothing.
The reception, with food and drink, opens at 6:30 p.m. and the dance starts at 7:30.
Once the event is finished, each photograph will be displayed at a Cranbrook business for the summer, and they will become part of an art walk.
“They’re going to be on this map and people can go look at the projects downtown during the summer. We’re making it as accessible as possible, so people can go in and look and not have to climb stairs. Anybody from any level of ability can see them,” explained Key City manager of events Brenda Burley.
Burley came up with the idea for the project last summer when she was at an art conference in Calgary. She viewed art that displayed LGBTQ2IA+from across Canada.
“It kept it in my head. I’m like, ‘we need to this,’ ‘we just need to do this,’ and it just kind of built from there,’” she recalled.
She approached Robison, whose art she was already familiar with, and he immediately jumped on board.
When it came time to approach businesses to see if they would like to feature a photograph, they were enthusiastic.
“All of the businesses we’ve talked to were just like ‘yes, we absolutely want to support this.’ It’s such a great way for businesses and organizations to let everyone know that they are an inclusive place, that they welcome everyone in our community,” she said.
Key City Theatre is still searching for a handful of businesses to sponsor the photographs. To inquire, call Key City Theatre at 250-426-7006 or e-mail email@example.com.