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The Story and Purpose Behind Portraits of Pride in Boston
Pride in Images
October has been known as LGBTQ History Month since 1995, when a resolution was passed by the General Assembly of the National Education Association. Fast-forward to today; LGBTQIA rights are again used for political clout. Trans and queer people are fighting again to keep their rights and freedoms. Because of that, Jean Dolin saw an opportunity to show what LGBTQIA history is made of.
Jean Dolin (he/they) is executive director and founder of Rainbow Tales, a production company for LGBTQIA storytelling and documentaries. Dolin believes that we need to showcase those in the community who are making a difference, but their vision was far more grand than any of us could have realized. This LGBTQIA exhibition, "Portraits of Pride in Boston," presents two photography installations. Sitting on the Boston Common are 8-foot-tall portraits done by award-winning photographer John Huet, known for working on major campaigns such as Nike, Vogue, and the Olympics. Over at the Seaport, the smaller installation was indoors with a unique perspective that allows you to be up close and personal with the portraits. Both art installations have their own style of photos.
Portraits of Pride showcases and uplifts 19 Boston and Massachusetts LGBTQIA leaders and changemakers, with a total of 22 portraits. Many participants have been involved in the national changes that gave us today's freedoms.
As honorees Charles Evans and Paul Glass put it, "To us, pride is the celebration of battles hard fought and won, from Stonewall to same-sex marriage, for LGBTQ equal rights to live our authentic lives and to be treated with dignity and respect without judgment, guilt, or shame."
Over the past month, people in the community have made these art exhibits a point of group meetings, field trips, and even wine and adventure nights. It has also been noted that people have flown in from across the country to look at these larger-than-life exhibits.
However, the Boston Common portraits have been subjected to vandalism. It started with one photograph with a slash across Beth Chandler, president and CEO of YW in Boston. Other portraits that have been vandalized are of Derrick Young Jr., executive director and cofounder of Leadership Brainery; Julian Cyr, state senator; and Alia Cusolito, head of teams at Queer Youth Assemble.
During the closing ceremony, Dolin explained how important it is to be the first: the first to stand out, the first to show up, and the first to make a difference. These exhibits are just the beginning, and their creators will not back down.
Another honoree, Grace Moreno, executive director of the Massachusetts LGBT Chamber of Commerce, said about the vandalism, "Art is meant to provoke."
Dolin has made it clear that they will continue creating art installations like this every year and hope to expand to other national projects.
Find out more about the exhibition, "Portraits of Pride in Boston," here.