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The ‘Drag Queen’ Scene

18 March 2023
2.00pm – 3.00pm AEDT
UNSW Galleries Cnr of Oxford St and Greens Rd, Paddington NSW 2021
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Hear from artist Christine Dean and drag artist and advocate Shane Gilberto Jenek (aka Courtney Act) for a conversation on Sydney’s trans and gender-nonconforming histories. Together they will discuss the differences between drag performance, gender fluidity, and trans identities. They will expand on the research underpinning Christine’s new wall painting ‘The ‘Drag Queen’ Scene’ which presents an abstract map of Taylor Square lined with the names of trans and gender-nonconforming personalities from Sydney.

Christine Dean’s practice navigates issues related to gender, sexuality, abstraction and formalism and, since her gender transition, she has been researching the history of transgender art. Dean’s work ‘The Long Voyage’ presents an abstract map of Taylor Square and a part of Sydney’s LGBTQI+ community where the “long voyage” has begun and ended for many. For THE PARTY, Dean has revisited this work and produced a new wall painting that substitutes the original colours with those of the transgender flag; the streets now lined with the names of trans and gender-nonconforming personalities from Sydney.

Shane Gilberto Jenek (aka Courtney Act) is a drag artist, singer, advocate and cultural provocateur. Courtney has appeared on reality TV in Australia and overseas, including her breakout in 2003 on the first season of Australian Idol; making the Top 3 on RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 6; and taking the UK by storm on Celebrity Big Brother, which she won. When Courtney isn’t busy being glamorous on TV and stage, she’s a boy from Brisbane called Shane Jenek. As a gender-fluid, queer person, Courtney uses her public profile to educate audiences on issues such as gender identity, sexuality, marriage equality, anti-racism and more. She currently splits her time following Pride parades and chasing summer between London, Los Angeles and Sydney.

Presented in conjunction with THE PARTY, a landmark exhibition celebrating LGBTQI+ party culture in Sydney from 1973 to 2002. Exhibition continues at UNSW Galleries until 23 April 2023.

Image: Installation view, ‘THE PARTY,’ UNSW Galleries, 2023. Photography: Jacquie Manning.