LONDON OLYMPICS TO FEATURE PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITION OF GAY ATHLETES
Nike debuts new t-shirts in support of LGBT sports photo project
LONDON, August 6, 2012 – American artist Jeff Sheng presents his project Fearless, a photography series about openly gay high school and collegiate team athletes, as part of Pride House 2012 at the London Olympic Games. The ten-minute video exhibition includes photographs of over one hundred athletes as a digital slide show with a voiceover narration by the artist. It will be on display at Pride House until the Olympic Closing Ceremonies on August 12, 2012.
The video can be watched and directly embedded from Vimeo or Youtube:
Fearless is a nine-year long photography project by celebrated artist Jeff Sheng, who since 2003 has photographed over 150 lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender identified high school and collegiate athletes in the U.S. and Canada. The video exhibition in London is the first time the photo series has been edited and shown as a slideshow, and the first time the project has been exhibited in Great Britain.
The debut of this work in London coincides with a fundraising drive that features T-shirts with the slogan “Fearless,” printed and donated by Nike to help raise funds for the artist to complete the project next year as a photography book (FearlessPhotobook.com).
In the voiceover narration from the video exhibition, the artist says, “What I’ve discovered are the stories of all these unknown people. They are high school students and college students, some as young as fifteen years old, who face the really horrible prospect of being bullied, harassed or beaten up by their fellow teammates… and these young people do this incredible thing – they simply say, ‘I’m going to be who I am.’”
Marc Naimark, Pride House coordinator for the Federation of Gay Games, says of the exhibit: “By narrating the history of the project and what it means to him, Jeff Sheng has brought the power of these young lives home to viewers who see their engagement in sport and their courage in being out. It’s a lesson for us all, whatever our age, whatever our athletic pursuits.”
Fearless has been widely exhibited in the United States over the last few years, including at the corporate headquarters of both Nike and ESPN. It has also been at over fifty high school and college campuses, and in Canada at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games.
The video exhibition is available online to allow those who are not able make it to London and Pride House to see the project. The video and more information about the Nike supported fundraising drive is at FearlessPhotobook.com
PRIDE HOUSE 2012 CONTACT: LOU ENGLEFIELD, firstname.lastname@example.org, UK Tel: +44 (0)7949 604610, website: pridehouse2012.org
ABOUT JEFF SHENG:
Jeff Sheng is an artist based in Los Angeles, and was recently a visiting guest professor of photography at Harvard University in 2011. He is known for his photo series Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell on closeted U.S. military service members affected by the policy of that same name, which forbid openly gay service members in the US armed forces until 2011. During the Congressional repeal of that policy between 2010-2011, Sheng’s photography series was profiled and covered by multiple media outlets including ABC World News Tonight, CBS Evening News, CNN, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, NPR and the BBC.
ABOUT PRIDE HOUSE 2012:
Pride House 2012 is a project of Pride Sports UK, in collaboration with the Federation of Gay Games, the European Gay and Lesbian Sport Federation (EGLSF), GLISA International, the LGBT Consortium, and Phoenix FC, and aims to offer a welcoming space for all athletes, staff, spectators and friends of London 2012. Pride House 2012 will be open from 3 to 7 August at CA House in Limehouse Basin on the river Thames, with the Pride House 2012 festival continuing in various venues through 12 August, the day of the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games.