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Alight Media partners with Martin Firrell to unveil artworks to mark 50th anniversary of the UK’s first Gay Pride march.

17 January 2022

On 1 July 2022, it will be 50 years since the first Gay Pride march took place in Britain. Pride50 is a series of public artworks created to mark the 50th anniversary year.

Martin Firrell is a British artist well known for provocative interventions in public space through his long association with the Out of Home industry. He has worked with Primesight, Outdoor Plus, and Clear Channel in the UK.

The project kicks off in January 2022 with four artworks based on true-life LGBT+ coming-of-age stories from the year of the UK's first Pride march - 1972:

  • In 1972, the last Apollo mission landed on the moon. One teenager's unlikely erotic awakening was prompted by the bulky white space suits worn by the moon mission crews.
  • Quentin Crisp was well on his way to becoming (in)famous by the early 1970s. Many young people first encountered the possibility of living a queer life through Crisp's autobiography The Naked Civil Servant and John Hurt's extraordinary portrayal of Crisp in the TV adaptation of the same title.
  • In 1972, UK law was altered so that television companies were allowed to broadcast during the day. At least one teenager realised her lesbian identity while watching the UK's first daytime TV.
  • 1972 saw the outbreak of the 'Cod Wars' between Iceland and the UK. News reports of burly trawlermen in conflict over fishing rights led one youngster to realise he was gay.

Firrell will create five further public artworks, in collaboration with Peter Tatchell, to be displayed prominently and nationally by the UK Out of Home industry to mark the day of the 50th anniversary on 1 July 2022.

Each of the artworks will highlight the stand-out challenge facing the LGBT+ community in each of the decades since the first Pride march.

The artist is asking the LGBT+ community, activists and their allies to contribute their own list of the most important issues facing the community in the 1970s, the 1980s, the 1990s, the 2000s and the 2010s.

Firrell will use these contributions to highlight what has mattered, and matters, to LGBT+ people and their allies over 5 decades of gay protest and Pride.

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