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London’s first lesbian festival is coming in October

By Nick Levine

Move over Venice Biennale... London is welcoming Lesbiennale, a new ongoing art project billed as a ‘multi-event celebration of dyke culture’.

Devised by Boiler Room’s 4:3 and curated by Nadine Ahmad and Naeem Davis, Lesbiennale says it aims particularly to ‘showcase and explore marginalised identities within lesbianism, such as lesbians of colour, queer and trans lesbians, disabled lesbians, non-binary lesbians and more’. 

Taking place at various venues from October 8-10, Lesbiennale will include a screening of ‘Shakedown’, Leilah Weinraub’s documentary about the underground black lesbian strip club scene in early noughties LA, and a night of erotic readings by poet Kai Isaiah-Jamal and drag artist Victoria Sin. The festival will take over Village Underground on October 10 for an epic-sounding club night featuring sets from Pxssy Palace, BBZ’s Sippin T, Covco and DJ Paulette, plus live performances from Harpies, Cutie Whippingham and Anthony Thegeya.  

As part of the festival, 4:3 is also curating a digital exhibition of video art designed to ‘tear open the themes of gender identity, sexuality and race’. 

‘I always wanted to identify as a lesbian but felt locked out of it, says co-curator Nadine Ahmad. ‘I was made to feel not lesbian enough due to my relationship with queerness and my gender, but now I am more confident about those aspects of myself, it makes so much sense to play and flirt and explore lesbianism in whatever way that feels good for me. Being denied access to the terminology that felt good for me greatly slowed down my process of coming to terms with who I am. That doesn’t need to happen anymore. We’re here to widen the conception of what a lesbian can look or feel or sound like.

And best of all, Lesbiennale is no one-off. According to Boiler Room, it won’t take place once every two years like a typical Biennale, but will instead appear in new locations, cities, spaces, galleries, cinemas and nightclubs around the world at irregular dates and times’. Bring it on.
Lesbiennale takes place from October 8-10. Check out Time Out's guide to the best lesbian clubs in London here

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