The contemporary art exhibition titled Untold Stories, which is part of both the European Capital of Culture Tallinn 2011 and the Diversity Enriches project focuses on the problems of sexual minorities, primarily as they relate to social, political and historical issues. The exhibition is accompanied by a diverse programme of events that includes discussions, screenings, and presentations. Untold Stories is almost the only project in the Capital of Culture programme that deals with the theme of sexual minorities. The exhibition is also collaborating with the Diversity Enriches project and the week of LGBT solidarity and culture – The Festival of Expanding Your World – which will take place from June 6th to 12th.
The works on display at the exhibition approach the topic primarily from a documentary viewpoint, by telling stories about homophobia and representations of homosexuality in Estonia, the everyday problems of sexual minorities in the workplace or as parents, and the cultural history of lesbians and gays during the socialist period in Eastern Europe. The stories are told by analysing single cases or by dealing with an entire era or cultural mindset.
Next to topics related to lesbians and gays, the exhibition also focuses on other often marginalised sexualities, such as bi-, trans- and intersexuality. The emphasis on the letter combination LGBTQI indicates the complexity of sexualities and gender identities, functioning as a starting point in order to reflect on questions related to the narrowness of binary gender roles, the constructed nature of gendered bodies, and the hard work involved in fitting or not fitting into the gender roles recognised by society.
The third set of topics at the exhibitions deals with the discourse of so-called “repressive tolerance”, the relations between the queer movement and the public sphere at the political level of self-expression. Also under examination are the dichotomy between the power of sexual minorities (primarily over themselves and their bodies) and the exclusive mechanisms of democratic representation, the possibilities and impossibilities of participating in public life and politics. In this context, the phenomenon of homonormativity and processes of multiple marginalisation are also thematised.
The project also tries to take its theme outside the exhibition hall, and vice versa, to bring events into the exhibition hall in order to turn it into a social space. Therefore, an extensive programme of additional events accompanies the exhibition. As a rule, the event programme will take place on Thursdays at 6 pm and information about it is available on the Kunsthalle website at www.kunstihoone.ee.