Flying the Flag

Date 25.01.2022 - 26.02.2022
Location Midsumma Festival, Abbotsford Convent, St Heliers Street Gallery, 1 St Heliers St, Abbotsford VIC


Contemporary British artist Annabel McCourt is ‘Flying the Flag’ for queer history in an exhibition of flags created from her own unique perspective. Partnering with Midsumma, Australia’s premier queer arts and cultural organisation, this will be the first time McCourt has exhibited in Australia and it will mark 40 years since the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Victoria.

The flag series begins with a downward-pointing triangle (a badge of shame originating in Nazi Concentration Camps, re-appropriated as a symbol of resistance and used since by larger LGBTQI+ community as a symbol of pride). Taking this forward chronologically, the series brings to attention relevant elements from the Lincolnshire’s (artist’s home county) history and major moments within further LGBTQIA+ histories.

The series combines seemingly naïve but powerful white-on-black designs, echoing the use of body inking and gang symbols by dangerous white supremacist groups, with bright flags with colours taken from a deconstructed ‘Rainbow Flag’. The flags are also intended to question colonialism, representation, rule and identity.

Accompanying the flags will be films highlighting McCourt’s celebrated queer work, Electric Fence. Hate crime is an ominous, prevailing presence in contemporary society. Borders, barriers and warning signs have come to be a part of our everyday life. Still, are we being kept out, or is something being kept in? Electric Fence is a thought-provoking and confrontational piece. It encourages viewers to examine the perceptions, challenges and preconceptions that impact us all in modern life, and compels us to turn to face them. Inspired by homophobic hate speech Electric Fence is grim yet unforgettable, and provides a macabre and powerful reminder of our own wicked potential.

You can be from rural Lincolnshire in the UK or the cultural capital of Australia; hate crime lurks and we can all asks ourselves, ‘Who are we now?’


Annabel McCourt is a contemporary British Artist. Her work ranges from lens-based gritty social-realism, through to public & installation art, moving image and architectural interventions inspired by fact, folklore & legend.

Midsumma is Australia’s premier queer arts and cultural organisation, bringing together a diverse mix of LGBTQIA+ artists, performers, communities and audiences.

Our primary event, Midsumma Festival, usually runs over 22 days in Melbourne’s summer (January/February) each year with an explosion of queer events that centre around hidden and mainstream queer culture, involving local, interstate, and international artists.

2022 commemorates 40 years since the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Victoria.

Abbotsford Convent is Australia’s largest multi-arts precinct. We are home to over 120 studios, a gallery, cafes, a radio station, a school, and an abundance of green open space. Every year the Convent curates and welcomes a diverse range of art projects, rehearsals, workshops, exhibitions, markets, events and festivals. We look forward to welcoming you!