Press release by KKWEER Arts

Dykes for Trans Rights, (2021) by Sarah-Joy Ford.

Walking Through The Park Study by Sola Olulode


04-14 July 2024
at 15 Bateman Street, London, W1D 3AQ
Curated by Ell Pennick and Gemma Rolls-Bentley

Press View: 04 July 17:00
Opening night: 04 July 18:00-21:00

KKWEER Arts is excited to present ‘Ultraviolet’, a powerful and thought-provoking group exhibition which delves into the intricate world of coded language, symbols, and gestures nestled within queer communities.

The exhibition features some of the biggest names in queer art, including new work by the iconic Maggi Hambling and a selection of new and existing works by Ajamu X, Lulu Bennett, Kudzanai-Violet Hwami, Olivia Sterling, Shadi Al-Atallah, Elsa Rouy, Sarah Jane Moon, Zach Toppin, Sadie Lee, Dale Lewis, Ebun Sodipo, Sola Olulode, Eva Dixon, Whiskey Chow, Sarah-Joy Ford, SHARP and Kevin Kane. More to be announced.

The curators of this show, Gemma Rolls-Bentley, and Ell Pennick, are powerhouses in the artworld. Gemma Rolls-Bentley has been at the forefront of contemporary art for 15 years, working passionately to champion diversity in the field and amplify the work of queer artists. Ell Pennick, Director and Founder of Guts Gallery is one of the youngest gallerists in the industry. Guts Gallery champions the underrepresented voices of the art world.

They bring together a strong group of queer artists whose work comes together to weave a vibrant tapestry of identity, inviting exploration into the depths of queer visual coding. The exhibition shines a light on the clandestine languages that have empowered individuals and fostered community bonds as tactics of survival.

Through a range of mediums, the featured work explores a rich history of coded expressions serving as potent tools of resistance, connection, and self-affirmation. From the subtle subversions of everyday objects to the bold defiance of societal norms, the evolving language of queer coding continues to play an important role. This exhibition invites you to unravel its mysteries and celebrate the divers expressions of queerness that occur in plain sight and enrich our world.

Samantha Pepys and the Biological Lie by Lulu Bennett

Kevin Kane, Founder of KKWEER Arts said “We are thrilled to highlight the exceptional talents of these artists, furthering our dedication to uplifting and celebrating LGBTQIA+ creators. In a world increasingly divided, it’s imperative that we not only advocate for queer visibility but also emphasise the importance of queer joy. Our exhibition serves as a beacon of hope, offering a space where diverse voices can unite, fostering understanding and acceptance.”

“We are excited to bring our curatorial voices together to further KKWEER Arts mission to support LGBTQIA+ artists. By exploring the intricate nuances of queer visual coding, Ultraviolet not only pays homage to the past but also ignites vital conversations about the present and future of LGBTQIA+ expression. Our exhibition stands as a testament to the enduring power of creativity, community, and resilience in the face of adversity” added curators Gemma Rolls-Bentley and Ell Pennick.

Brooks, Barkley, Bell & Gluck, 2024, 60 x 60 cm by Sarah Jane Moon

About KKWEER Arts:

KKWEER Arts is a non-profit organization dedicated to amplifying the voices of LGBTQIA+ artists and fostering inclusivity across society. Our mission is to elevate artists’ careers through curated exhibitions, engaging events, and a robust online presence. We are committed to providing nurturing support and creating meaningful projects in both physical and digital realms that are not only engaging and educational but also celebrate the joy of queerness within our community and resonate with diverse audiences. By showcasing LGBTQIA+ art within a broader societal context, we strive to promote understanding and acceptance while championing artistic expression. www.kkweerarts.com @KKWEERarts

About the Curators:

Gemma Rolls-Bentley has been at the forefront of contemporary art for over 15 years, working passionately to champion diversity in the field. Curating exhibitions and building art collections internationally, her curatorial practice amplifies the work of female and queer artists and provides a platform for art that explores LGBTQ+ identity. Gemma is a creative consultant and advisor for brands, organisations and cultural projects and she teaches at institutions including the Royal College of Art, Glasgow School of Art and Goldsmiths. She co-chairs the board of trustees for the charity Queercircle and sit on the Courtauld Association Committee. She spent a decade working at the intersection of art and technology, holding positions of Chief Curator at Avant Arte and Curatorial Director at Artsy. In 2011 Gemma launched the arts arm of the East London Fawcett Group and ran their 2012-2013 Art Audit campaign. Recent curatorial projects include Tschabalala Self’s first public art project at Coal Drops Yard in London, the Brighton Beacon Collection, the largest permanent display of queer art in the UK, and the Tom of Finland Art & Culture Festival. In 2023 she curated the group exhibition ‘Dreaming of Home’ at Leslie Lohman Museum of Art in NYC and she is the host of the museum’s new podcast series. Her debut book Queer Art will be published in May 2024 by Frances Lincoln.

Ell Pennick, Director and Founder of Guts Gallery is one of the youngest gallerists navigating the art world today. As a working-class, queer Northerner with no art background, Pennick’s footing in the art world started with their frustrations at the lack of meaningful opportunities for people like them. After being unable to accept a place at a renowned institution due to their financial status, Pennick began to question the wider, social austerity within the arts. They launched Guts to create a fair art-business model (which has “far more importance to them than a piece of paper with a Masters grade on it”) and to champion emerging artists. They made it their mission to help artists demand the respect – and ownership – they deserve.

Maggi Hambling, Prelude, 2000, Oil on board 1.