During the 1970s, 80s & 90s in Sydney, Australia a high number of LGBTIQ people were violently bashed, murdered or disappeared entirely. Although some of these incidents were reported in the gay press and the NSW AntiDiscrimination Board at the time, many remained unreported to the authorities. This was due to cultural and societal attitudes with and within the NSW police force and the broader community’s general intolerance of homosexuality. With the advent of AIDS in the 80s, “a significant media and social response of gay alienation within the context of ‘moral panic’ occurred” (Strike Force Parrabell 2018, p. 13). ‘Beats’ such as toilet blocks, public parks and beaches(Bondi Headlands) where men met other men for sex or social contact became the target of gangs that felt it was their duty to rid and protect the community of such ‘intolerable’ behavior.
Inspired by Cuban artist Felix GonzalezTorres work “Untitled” (Death by Gun), 1990, this exhibition will be based on research conducted on the gay killings that took place in Sydney throughout the years of the late 1970s up until 2000. This was a period of extreme distrust by the LGBTQI community in the NSW Police Force who symmetrically failed to acknowledge, protect, report or simply dismissed community concerns. Massacre will result in a series of works highlighting the large number of victims and the fact many murders remain unsolved. Although there is conjecture as to whether some of these murders are a gay-hate crimes, the fact that they were not properly investigated at the time is a dark stain on Australia’s history.