London-based, South African-born artist Graeme Messer has created a unique performance piece in which he calls out high profile gay-hate mongers.
The powerful work, titled The Dark Room, was filmed at the Espacio Gallery in London on the 22nd of June as part of a group show called weR, which ran alongside Pride in London 2016.
In it, Messer references Pastor Steven Anderson, who’s called for the execution of gay people, believes that killing gay people would end the Aids epidemic and praised the Orlando massacre. He is planning a “soul-winning” excursion to Johannesburg in September.
Messer also references Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, who’s often railed against LGBT people as being “worse than pigs and dogs,” Russian leader Vladimir Putin, who signed so-called “gay propaganda” legislation into law, and bigoted British boxer Tyson Fury.
“I was interested in exploring homophobia and hatred of the LGBT community,” Messer told Mambaonline. “I was initially only using one speech by the hate preacher Steven Anderson about Aids, but then the Orlando shooting happened and to my amazement there he was on the internet spouting his deranged vitriol about the massacre.
“I felt it was really important to include this. The shooting and Anderson’s reaction to it brought hatred and homophobia into a shocking sort of technicolour.”
Messer, who studied at Wits, said that performing The Dark Room “brought up all sorts of feelings. At a certain point I felt saturated by all the nastiness and hatred, but the good thing about the piece was the fact that it also showed how ridiculous and absurd these haters are.”
He added: “It was always great fun to take the piss out of the likes of Mugabe, Putin and the homophobic British boxer Tyson Fury.”
As for Anderson’s upcoming trip to South Africa, Messer believes that the preacher should be stopped from spreading his hatred. “I would welcome that if it were possible. His extreme form of hatred should not be tolerated anywhere, and I hope he can be prevented from preaching.”
More than 52,000 people have now signed two petitions calling for Home Affairs to block Anderson’s visit. You can sign them here and here.