SQuARE explores queer identities through student art wall

The word “queer” has been reclaimed by many in the LGBTQ+ community as something that can describe sexuality outside of gender and sexual dichotomies such as male and female or gay and straight. “Queer” means falling on a spectrum somewhere in between, and maybe even changing day to day. This can be a hard concept to grasp because the conversation changes from individual to individual. To explore this concept further, SQuARE (Students for Queer Arts, Resistance and Education), in partnership with the U’s LGBT Resource Center, are calling for students to submit self-portraits that express their personal identity as queer individuals.
“For me, the student art wall is about creating space and access for authentic student voices on campus,” said Lauryn Hansen, a member of SQuARE.
According to an Oct. 6 article in The Daily Utah Chronicle, the group SQuARE “is a direct action student group that interacts predominantly with local student populations regarding ‘queer issues.’ [They] openly resist normalized forms of oppression through various artistic forms, ally-ships, and educational opportunities.” Other events they’ve organized include a gender-neutral square dance, evenings of art-making and sharing, and last spring they commissioned an artist to create a piece of art that was displayed in the lobby of the Babcock Theatre. SQuARE is filling a need for queer art students, who often lack these opportunities to showcase their work.
Loren Ruiz, one of the committee members who will be voting on art submissions, thinks “queer” is an important concept that needs to be explored through art.
“I’ve never fit into the paradigms life’s offered me,” Ruiz said. “I’m not your typical chick or your typical dude, but queer helped me feel like a valuable and complex person, as opposed to a misfit anomaly.”
During the Spring Semester, the art will be installed in the LGBT Resource center on the wall to the right just as you enter. All forms of art will be accepted, including photography, paintings, drawings, collaging, multimedia installations and sculptures. The work will be framed for the artist, and small prizes will be given to students with the five best submissions. Artists and students will also be invited to an opening event to be announced on a later date.
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