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We also asked for love: Gay men’s narrative portraits of resilience and resistance

‘When we were given sex, we also asked for love: gay men’s narrative portraits of resilience and resistance’ is a collaboration between Edgar Rodríguez-Dorans, expert in the study of gay men’s identities, and artist Eleonora Scalise, who has worked extensively in the genre of portraiture. Edgar researches lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer relationships and identities from a perspective of mental health and embraces an interdisciplinary perspective. He is interested in the dialogue between arts and qualitative research in social science. He thinks that the importance of this project lies on the need to remind the viewer that, although the sensitivity of their stories requires participants’ identities to remain anonymous, research findings emerge from full-fleshed people and the medium of narrative portraiture gives these narratives a face and body.

Eleonora Scalise – who is experienced in painting dramatic portraits and has conveyed complex themes such as multiculturalism, gender, tragedy and despair through her artwork – has read the anonymised narratives of the gay men who participated in the study. She perceives in them an ambivalent sense of hopelessness and resilience, love and resistance in the often-sexualised stories of these men. By imagining who are the men behind the stories, Eleonora painted ten portraits based on the real-life stories represented in the narrative data.

The portraits, along with the narratives that inspired them, will be shown at a public, free exhibition at Whitespace Gallery Edinburgh, 76 East Crosscauseway, Edinburgh EH8 9HQ

Open daily

10 am - 2:00 pm

2:30 pm - 5:00 pm

Admission free