Object: T-shirt, ’Queer’
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ACT-UP (maker/artist), mid 1990s, Australia
x 855mm (Width)
|Credit line||Gift of Neil Anderson, 2000|
This T-shirt was created by Act Up, a defiant activist body formed initially in the United States, then Australia, in response to the AIDS crisis. The T-shirt aims to reclaim the word 'queer' for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities. Reclaiming 'queer' began in English speaking countries from the early 1990s.
T-shirts emblazoned with logos and slogans play an important role in protest and identity paraphernalia - they are easily reproducible, cheap and wearable. They act as a canvas or billboard to affirm identity or philosophy. They enable a broad range of people to participate in protest or meaning at a daily, ground level, and therefore are familiar material culture.
T-shirts like this are fun, playful, tongue in cheek, but can still be read on many levels. Some messages are ironic, subversive and provocative. Some are deeply political and express the zeitgeist of an era.
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