“There is no original or primary gender a drag imitates, but gender is a kind of imitation for which there
is no original.”
Judith Butler, 1990 in Gender Trouble

DRAG: Self-portraits and Body Politics is the first institutional exhibition to expand on the traditional
representations of drag, involving drag queens, drag kings and bio drags from different generations
and backgrounds.

Opening on Wednesday at London’s Southbank Centre, the exhibition will focus on self-portraiture from the 1960s to the present day. It includes work by artists who have used drag as an artistic tool to explore or challenge preconceptions of identity, gender, class, politics and race.

The artists who collectively make up the work at DRAG: Self-portraits and Body Politics were born between the years 1900 and 1991, yet their messages all carry the same messages of acceptance and celebration.

With 30 contributors in total, artists include prominent figures such as Pierre Molinier, VALIE EXPORT, Robert Mapplethorpe and Cindy Sherman, as well as a younger generation of contemporary artists.

With such a mix of ages and experiences, the artists included explore key cultural shifts from the past 50 years. What they have in common is that, through drag, they address a diverse range of topics from feminism to the AIDS crisis and post-colonial theory.

Most of the works in this HENI Project Space show are photographs, but the exhibition also includes works in other media, including performance. Throughout the run of  the exhibition there will be the unique opportunity to join a tour led by key figures from London’s drag scene. There will be three tours in total.

The exhibition opens on Wednesday and will run until 14 October 2018. It is free to visit, so don’t miss your chance to see this inspiring collection of art.

Find out more about the Drag: Self-portraits and Body Politics exhibition on the Southbank Centre website.