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Polari

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Jez has been working with Polari for a number of years. For the uninitiated, Polari is a specifically British Sociolect, primarily (although not exclusively) used by Gay men between the 1920's and the 1970's, and was at its height in the years immediately pre - the partial decriminalisation of Homosexuality in England & Wales in 1967, although it's history and etymology can be traced far further into the past. This 'lost language of Gay men' served simultaneously as disguise and identification, when mere existence was punishable for many men, with imprisonment and public disgrace. Polari was a form of resistance, a way of Queering space (and time), and the expression of a shared culture and identity. It was crucially, camp, and funny.


Exhibition installation view

Jez created a number of exhibitions, performances and interventions using Polari as form, subject and content, and collaborated with a number of artists across diverse art forms. Projects include:

Exhibitions at The John Rylands Library, Manchester UK, and Bury Art Museum & Sculpture Centre UK, The first Polari Symposium, a gathering of artists academics, archivists and others to discuss the ongoing legacy and impact of Polari on LGBTQI+ heritage, Presentations at a number of art & academic events, inc. The University of Huddersfield, London Metropolitan Archives, a newly commissioned theatre piece, which premiered at Contact, Manchester in February 2013, and the creation of the worlds first Polari app for iPhone, which contains the most comprehensive Polari dictionary.

The Polari Bibleathon

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The Polari Bibleathon is an ongoing durational performance work, which uses the (only extant) copy of the King James Bible, translated into Polari to give a series of readings from Biblical text. The performance is undertaken by a team of Polari scholars, and has previously been performed at The John Rylands Library, Bury Art Museum, and Rogue Studios, Manchester.

"And Gloria said let there be sparkle, and there was sparkle" Genesis 1:3

The Polari Bible online was created and is maintained by Sister Matic de Bauchery aka Tim Greening Jackson