As defined by curator Michelle Lavoie, the term ‘normal’ refers to accepted ways of being: culturally constructed ideas around gender, sexuality and expected and accepted behaviour. Throughout time all societies have set norms of behaviour. As expressed by Lavoie, however, while society creates limits on behaviour these norms are always shifting.
One shift in societal norms has been views towards, and thus the rights of, Canada’s LGBTQ+ ‘community’. Prior to the 1960s homosexuality was considered a criminal offense. Since de-criminalization in 1969 there has been a steady, albeit arduous, progression concerning the legal rights of LGBTQ+ citizens in Canada. One result of this progress was the legalization of same-sex marriage across the nation in 2005.
While change is constant, however, there are those resistant to social, political and cultural transformations and who attempt to impose a narrow definition of ‘normal’ on society. The exhibition Re-Imaging Normal questions such aims. Combining archival materials with art works created by LGBTQ+ and LGBTQ-allied artists, this exhibition allows peoples’ own stories to be told, creating a space for dialogue between different communities so that the boundaries of what is considered ‘normal’ are questioned and possibly expanded.
Curated by Michelle Lavoie and Shane Golby, Art Gallery of Alberta (TREX Region 2)
16 art works
9 didactic/photographic works
2 text panels
75 running feet
Cover image credit: Darcy Logan. When we play we grow wiser…, 2016. Faux vintage photo. Collection of the artist