The group exhibition, Homorientalism, brings together the work of nine artists turning to the visual repertoires of orientalism to excavate the mixing of gender, race, sexuality, and empire. Returning to archives and lost desires, this exhibition hopes to make sense of the residue of Western imperialism in queer lives and after-lives of the twenty-first century. This exhibition is guest-curated by Noor Bhangu and features work by artists: Damien Ajavon, Aika Akhmetova, Hector Canonge, Jin-Yong Choi, Banyi Huang, Maya Jeffereis, Jongbum Kim, Zahra Pars, and Sa’dia Rehman.
While homosexuality was not altogether absent from the cultural canons of the West, Western erotics were primarily confined to “heterosexual love” until the late nineteenth century, when, according to Foucault, the homosexual was born as a species. In the Age of Discovery, the homoerotics of the non-Western world were translated to Western audiences through the lens of Orientalism, what Edward Said later theorized as the fictions of exaggerated difference between the deviant Oriental others and the superior Western self. During the aggressive colonization of the nineteenth century, the West pathologized the sexual economies of brown and black bodies to cast them outside the path of human progress. The result of these ventures has resulted in homophobias and transphobias at home alongside racisms in the diaspora, which continue to restrict and threaten the lives of the queer postcolony.