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Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance

Virtual Pride Art Gallery 2021 – Americas

Our Virtual Pride celebrations

Force for Change

The past year has transformed nearly every aspect of our world. In these times of dramatic change and uncertainty, many of us have found strength, resilience, empowerment, and agency in community, and in the historical struggles, legacies, and triumphs of those before us who have paved the way to a better future. We've been called to reflect on our own lives and to consider, support, and protect those in our local and global community who face marginalization and systemic discrimination. In this global crisis, the intersectional struggles of LGBT+ people for recognition, dignity, rights, and social justice have been ongoing, and we are called upon to be a force for change.

In honor of Gay Pride Month and in celebration of the fifteen-year anniversary of our annual Pride art exhibition, Arcus Americas—the Americas chapter of Clifford Chance's global LGBT+ and allies community—is pleased to present Force for Change, a virtual exhibition in parallel with fourteen of the firm's offices around the world: Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, London, Madrid, New York, Paris, Perth, São Paulo, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo, Milan, and Washington DC.

Force for Change art gallery

View our full Force for Change art gallery featuring community organizations and nineteen artists from our fifteen-year exhibition history. These works seek to promote visibility for people and histories that may otherwise remain invisible, raise awareness of the ways in which present-day LGBT+ communities are fighting for their dignity and equality, and galvanize individual and collective responses to social, cultural, and political injustice.

Meet our community partners

Hear directly from our wonderful community partners – Visual AIDS; The LGBT Community Center National History Archive in New York; Rainbow History Project in Washington DC; and English to Trans-form in São Paulo, about the important work they do to support the LBGT+ and allies community and how they have adapted to the changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

English to Trans-form

English to Trans-form Session, April 11, 2021, Photo by Bela Baderna, Courtesy English to Trans-From, São Paulo

English to Trans-form (ETT) is a São Paulo-based NGO that provides free language teaching project for the LGBTQIA+ population. Founded in 2015 by Paolo Capistrano and Marcela Polo, its purpose is to make second language acquisition more accessible to trans-gender people. The volunteer teachers are trained by coordinators that also develop the material in the courses. This material takes diversity, inclusion, gender identity and a myriad of social issues into its syllabus.

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The LGBT Community Center National History Archive

Leonard Fink 'First Christopher Street Liberation Day March, NYC, 1970' Courtesy of The LGBT Community Center National History Archive, NY

The Christopher Street Liberation Day March was the first New York pride parade, and marked the first anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. It expanded city-by-city into a worldwide phenomenon of pride parades, marches, and community and activist events.

The LGBT Community Center National History Archive is located within the LGBT Community Center in Greenwich Village, New York, and serves to preserve the history of the LGBT community and its rich heritage. Founded in 1990 by volunteer archivist Richard Wandel, the archive provides a look into the lives and experiences of LGBTQ people throughout the years. 

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Visual AIDS

Participants making handmade paper valentines in January 2020 at Dieu Donne's paper making studio for Visual AIDS' annual LOVE POSITIVE WOMEN valentine making workshops. Each year, participants produce hundreds of unique handmade paper valentine cards that are mailed to women living with HIV around the world in time for Valentine's Day, Photo by Dina Raketa, Courtesy of Visual AIDS.

Visual AIDS utilizes art to fight AIDS by provoking dialogue, supporting HIV+ artists and preserving a legacy, because AIDS is not over. 

Founded in 1988, Visual AIDS is the only contemporary arts organization fully committed to raising AIDS awareness and creating dialogue around HIV issues today, by producing and presenting visual arts projects, exhibitions, public forums and publications—while assisting artist living with HIV/AIDS. We are committed to preserving and honoring the work of artist with HIV/AIDS and the artistic contributions of the AIDS movement. We embrace diversity and difference in our staff, leadership, artists, and audiences.

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Rainbow History Project

ClubHouse dancers practicing, Courtesy of Rainbow History Project

Rainbow History Project's mission is to collect, preserve, and promote an active knowledge of the history, arts, and culture of metropolitan Washington DC's diverse LGBTQ communities. The organization engages individuals of all backgrounds — particularly those from underrepresented groups. Since its founding, the project has recorded oral histories, recognized community pioneers, conducted research projects and public panels, and amassed a collection of documents, manuscripts and photographs for permanent storage at the Historical Society of Washington DC.

In 2020, Rainbow History Project launched a major project to collect and preserve the story of the ClubHouse, a Washington DC after hours club (1975-1990) that predominantly catered to a Black gay and lesbian clientele. It was known internationally for its sound system, had legendary DJ’s, helped introduce house music to DC, and was a vital gathering place for the DC-area LGBTQ+ community. The ClubHouse also hosted many political events and was an important incubator for AIDS activism in the DC region. 

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Lolita Beckwith

'Portrait of Malaya Manacop, HIV/AIDS Activist' 2019, Courtesy of the artist

Malaya Manacop, LMSW, is a psychotherapist, member of HIV Health and Human Services Planning Council of NYC and Educational Specialist, HIV Youth Services at Hetrick-Martin Institute. "It has been most healing and transformative for me to find other people living with HIV, who I can lean on for support, or lend a helping hand to. People who understand the everyday struggles and challenges. I am grateful for each time I meet someone else in our community, and it is beautiful to see how people come together to support each other." (2019)

Lolita Beckwith, aka Lolita Lens, is a New York–based professional sports, concert, and street photographer. Her series of photographs and corresponding oral histories included here were originally commissioned for Metanoia: Transformation Through AIDS Archives & Activism, an exhibition curated by Katherine Cheairs, Alexandra Juhasz, Theodore Kerr, and Jawanza James Williams at the New York LGBTQ Community Center. The title, Metanoia, is of Greek origin and expresses the possibility of change through transformation.

The project examines community-based responses to the ongoing AIDS crisis, and demonstrates that HIV/AIDS is a powerful agent of change and that transformation happens through community, activism, words, sex, care, and the materials that document these human efforts. The portraits and text celebrate the contributions and experiences of cis and trans women of color who have always been at the forefront of movement work, but who are often found at the margins of AIDS archives, art exhibits, and histories.

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Abby Walton

Documentation image of 'Imagine Equality' Patches at a March, Washington DC., Photo by Nammah Tan, Courtesy of the artists

Abby Walton is an artist, set designer, prop stylist, and activist. Her 2016 project, Imagine Equality, is a direct response to the ongoing struggle for equality and human rights. Walton employs screen printing to stamp graphic text—IMAGINE EQUALITY—onto fabric panels with optical patterns and colors. Walton embraces printmaking’s history as a democratic, accessible, and efficient medium for activism. The panels are distributed as patches that can be activated in numerous ways: attached and worn on clothing or sewn together to create protest signs and banners. The graphic legibility of the text set against the colors and patterns calls out each of us to question the idea that equality is something already achieved, and invites us to imagine and fight for a more just world.

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Nicholas Buffon

'Stonewall in the Rain' 2017, Pilot G2 pen, acrylic paint, carbon transfer on Bristol, 7 x 9.5 in, courtesy the artist and Callicoon Fine Arts

Nicholas Buffon is a painter and sculptor who lives and works in New York. His playful paintings of LGBTQ businesses, bars, and establishments in New York are part of an ongoing series that celebrates queer businesses and social spaces. The city is in a constant state of change; these works record the vitality, life, and importance of these community spaces for queer people and their allies. In his paintings, Buffon fuses his own photographs with images from Google Street View, then renders the composite images in pen and acrylic paint. Foreground and background coalesce, making every detail appear tightly in focus.

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Eric Gyamfi

From the Series 'Just Like Us' 2016, Courtesy of the artist and Phototool,
© the artist

A night of dance. Some members of the LGBTQ community organize a night of dance after the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia event as a way to network and get to know other community members.

Eric Gyamfi is an artist living and working in Accra, Ghana. His series of photographs, Just Like Us, "are the beginnings of an ever evolving journal on the lives of some of my queer friends in Ghana, whom I consider to be collaborators in the work."

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Liz Collins

Documentation image of 'KNITTING NATION PHASE 4, Pride' 2013, Providence, RI, Courtesy of the artist

Liz Collins is a New York–based artist who employs the materials, processes, and techniques of fiber and textile media. She incorporates vivid palettes and dynamic patterning to create work that varies in scale, from the object-based to the immersive and architectural, and straddles the divides between the functional, the decorative, and the expressive. 

This image is from a series of photographs documenting Collins' participatory performance work, KNITTING NATION PHASE 4: Pride, which was presented in June 2008 in Providence, RI, at Waterplace Park, a central plaza on the banks of the Providence River.

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Bradley Secker

'Akran' from the series Kütmaan, 2012, Courtesy of the artist

Arkan, 20, from Sanandaj, Iran. Chatting on Skype with his girlfriend from Kayseri, central Turkey, 2012. Identifying as transgender, Arkan says, "life in Iran was impossible for too many reasons." After extensive waiting in Turkey, Arkan was resettled to Texas, USA, where his Iranian girlfriend also lives. Homosexuality is criminalized in Iran although being transgender is permitted, and the Iranian government provides loans to those undergoing gender corrective surgery. The social stigma of being trans in Iran drives many to flee the country. 

In his series Kütmaan—Arabic for the act of hiding or concealing something—Bradley Secker combines photography and first person oral histories to address political persecution, discrimination, and related refugee/asylum issues in foreign countries such as Iran, Iraq, Syria, Turkey.

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Avram Finkelstein

Silence=Death Project 'Silence=Death' 1986, Poster, Offset lithograph, Courtesy of the Avram Finkelstein Archive and Papers

Avram Finkelstein is an artist and writer living in New York. explores the relationship between deeply personal experience and sociopolitical issues. His multidisciplinary practice includes painting, sculpture, photography, textiles, collage, and installation. His work is informed by his experiences growing up with activist parents, as the boyfriend of a man who started showing signs of immunosuppression in early 1981, when AIDS was not a public conversation, and as a founding member of two important AIDS advocacy groups: the art collective Gran Fury and the Silence=Death Project, the collective responsible for Silence=Death, the image most closely associated with AIDS activism in America.

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Florence Derive

'Flying Message for Gilbert Baker' 2017, Acrylic on linen, Courtesy of the artist and Gordon Robichaux, NY

Florence Derive is a painter and decorative artist. In her paintings on canvas and paper, and her site-specific frescos, she explores the nuances of color, texture, and form; frequently collaborating with architect Alberto Pinto. In her series, Letters in Tribute to Gilbert Baker, Derive pays homage to the LGBT+ activist and creator of the iconic LGBTQ flag, through her use of the colors of the rainbow.

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Leilah Babirye

'Burned Diary' 2015, Archival digital print, In collaboration with lettera27, Courtesy of the artist and Gordon Robichaux, NY

Leilah Babirye is an artist and activist who came to the US to seek asylum from the atmosphere of LGBT discrimination upheld by the 2009 Anti-Homosexuality Bill in her native Uganda. In her artworks, Babirye juxtaposes found materials and objects that have social and political resonance with traditional forms of art making and craft, including carving. Speaking about how her experience of discrimination in Uganda informs her art, Babirye explains, "Since many call gay people rubbish, I decided to collect the rubbish from dustbins to create something beautiful."

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Hoesy Corona

'Climate-Immigrants' Performance Documentation, Transformer + Siren Arts, Asbury Park, NJ, 2017, Courtesy of the artist

Hoesy Corona is a Baltimore and Tulsa, OK, based multidisciplinary, queer Mexican artist who considers what it means to be a Latinx immigrant. Recurring themes of queerness, race, class, gender, nature, and celebration are present throughout his work. Corona's Climate-Ponchos are a series of wearable sculptures central to his ongoing performance and site-specific installation Climate-Immigrants, a project that considers the impending plight of climate-induced migration worldwide and its effects on people of color.

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Scott Hug

'US Perceptions of the Morality of Homosexual Relations, 50% Morally Acceptable; 50% Morally Wrong (gallup.com, 2008) — Universe' 2013, Collaged Color-Aid on found National Geographic page, Courtesy of the artist

Scott Hug is a New York-based artist who critically examines contemporary culture. In his series of pie charts derived from information provided by Gallup polls, Hug questions our modern-day obsession with public opinion. He presents us with a curious truth; we often rely on an abstract interpretation of data and surface images to construct our understanding of the world around us, foregoing personal experience.

This collage is based on one Gallup poll from 2018: US Perceptions of the Morality of Homosexual Relations: 50% Morally Acceptable; 50% Morally Wrong. Hug questions how our fascination and reliance on statistics has become more important than deep analysis, and how our reliance on abstract information is often more palatable than a more complex discussion that addresses the original question, not just the answer. The works also remind us how perceptions and perspectives on social issues are fluid and subject to change.

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Tadej Žnidarčič

'John' from the series 'We are Here, We are Gay, and We are Ugandans' 2010/2013, C-print, Courtesy of the artist 

I was blackmailed. This guy stole my phone. He was seducing boys in my neighborhood. At that time he was staying at my place and I told him to leave. In the morning, he stole my phone. Clients were calling and he told them: He is homosexual and he's gonna be arrested. My boss came and asked me about it. I told him 'I'm here, let the police come and arrest me. (2010)

I try to talk to people one-on-one, even to boda (motorcycle taxi) drivers and some are positive. They tell me, 'why should people be bothered, be outed in papers? If two people have [sexual] act, no one was raped... why write about it, media houses are disgusting.' As time goes by, they are your boda, you are harmless to them, not insulting, do business with them. Sometimes they say, 'John, you really must be courageous. (2013)

Tadej Žnidarčič’s photographic project, ‘We are Here, We are Gay, and We are Ugandans’ was conceived as a response to Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Žnidarčič photographed members of the Ugandan LGBT community twice—in 2010 and 2013—and also collected oral histories of their stories. The vast majority of the subjects Žnidarčič photographed in 2010 did not feel comfortable having their identity revealed, and chose to have their story represented only with a picture of their back and their oral history. By 2013, many of the subjects had become involved in activism because of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill and chose to face the camera in their 2013 portrait.

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Heather Cox

'Button Project (Cluster)' 2015, Digital Print on gator board, Courtesy of the artist

For Heather Cox’s photographic project, Pinned: Exploring the LGBT Archive’s Visual Collection, Cox researched a wide range of holdings within the New York LGBT Community Center National History Archive, an important catalog of LGBTQ+ material history that includes documents and objects belonging to queer communities. The eclectic collection piqued Cox’s interest; for Pinned, she settled on two aspects of the collection: buttons from the 1960s to the present with social signifiers and slogans, and historical photographs of people (public press photos, headshots, and private snapshots). Ultimately, her project explores “identity, messaging, and connection.” Cox explains: …in a society where gays and lesbians did not see themselves reflected in the dominant culture. … How do we identify and preserve our ephemeral past, especially in a digital age? … More than the text message, the button is a still-point: a material marker of the past, of its places and allegiances.”

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Billy Dee

'Untitled' 2011, Graphite on paper, Courtesy of the artist

The Prison Industrial Complex targets people from certain neighborhoods, especially poor people, people of color, young people, and LGBT people.

Billy Dee is a Chicago-based artist who loves to collaborate, is passionate about the transformative power of art, and who makes art to support movement building for social justice. Dee works frequently with the community organization Project NIA—as an artist and designer—and has created numerous illustrations, posters, and publications. Dee created these graphite drawings with text accompaniment for the zine The Prison Industrial Complex Is… in conjunction with the temporary exhibition Unfinished Business: Juvenile Justice at the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum (2011). The zine is free for digital distribution, and is a resource designed to help educate and mobilize the public about mass incarceration, and the ways in which queer people, people of color, gender nonconforming people, the mentally ill, the undocumented, the poverty-stricken, the homeless, the young, women, and those suffering from addiction are disproportionately criminalized and incarcerated by the prison industrial complex in America.

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Lola Flash

'Cheryl Dunye' from the series 'LEGENDS' 2017, dye-infused pigment print on coated aluminum, Ed of 10, Courtesy of the artist

Lola Flash is an activist and photographer who works primarily with a 4x5 film camera to create images that address social and feminist issues, and LGBTQ+ visibility. Her portraits challenge stereotypes and offer new ways of seeing that transcend gender, sexual, and racial norms. An active participant in ACT UP during the time of the AIDS epidemic in New York City, Flash was notably featured in the iconic 1989 "Kissing Doesn't Kill" poster. In Flash's photographic series, LEGENDS, the artist celebrates people who spearheaded a movement: They are actors, advocates, DJs, performers—trailblazers who presented an honest vision that clashed against societal norms.

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About Arcus

Arcus is our global inclusive employee network open to all Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans*, Intersex, Queer people and their Allies​​​. Arcus aims to encourage an inclusive and integrated culture within Clifford Chance that gives colleagues the choice to be open and out.

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Arcus archives

Explore some of our previous exhibitions to see how Arcus Pride Art has evolved in recent years.

Visit the archives