Painting-Canadian

‘Not a Freak Show,’ Growing Up Gay

Not a Freak Show, 2009-2013, acrylic on found canvas tent.

Artist Spencer J. Harrison was Canada’s first academic to paint his PhD, earned in 2014 at OISE, University of Toronto. His “Not a Freak Show, Growing up Gay in Rural Ontario” opens at the Art Gallery of Peterborough April 29, 2017.

Photo Credit: Above and Below, QMI Agency

Harrison’s canvas is a tent. The exterior displays images based on circus freak shows, while the interior shows images from Harrison’s younger years. Gay people are still victimized by misconceptions, he says.

In an interview with the Peterborough Examiner, Harrison says “it’s not easy growing up gay in rural Ontario. It’s not easy growing up gay anywhere. There are a lot of people who discriminate, who paint pictures of us that are just not true. And I think we get shoved into secrecy and silence, and my work hopefully prompts people to tell their own stories and stop being put in those imaginary places.”

Summary of Spencer J Harrison Doctoral Thesis, here.

Spencer J Harrison’s website, here.

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