QC PRIDE PHOTOGRAPHS BY ANDY ABEYTA
"I hope for viewers these images reflect the significance of the LGBTQ+ community not only in the Quad-Cities but throughout society. It is the greatest pleasure of my career to showcase and share the lives of those around me. I would encourage any viewer to seek a new experience in community wherever they may find it." -Andy Abeyta
People gather in celebration with friends and strangers alike on the streets of downtown Davenport while rainbow banners wave behind them. Taken during the 2019 Pridefest, these images by photojournalist Andy Abeyta (American, b. 1993) document one of the many events planned by Quad Cities Unity Pride during their annual QC Unity Pride Week.
President of QC Pride Tee LeShoure states that the organization is "dedicated to promoting awareness and visibility of the LGBTQ+ community in the Quad Cities region. Since 2017, our organization has put a spotlight on the LGBTQ+ community, showcasing their talents, stories, and lives." Of the array of events that QC Pride organizes, including a parade, Vice-President Michelle Royal states that “We are celebrating our history, where we are and where we are going….”
The first pride parades commemorated the 1969 Stonewall riots, an uprising of Stonewall Inn patrons and community members in the Greenwich Village section of Manhattan. The community joined in solidarity against pervasive harassment and violence by the New York Police Department. Since then, the pride movement has grown and evolved, remaining rooted in ideals of cultural equality, self-expression, and the continuing struggle for equal rights and representation for the LGBTQ+ community.
Photography is a powerful medium for spreading awareness. Rather than words on a page or a computer monitor, we see people gathered in struggle or celebration—humanizing issues that concern us all. Photography also gives these events a life that lasts long after the crowds disperse. Whether pride parades, women’s suffrage marches, civil rights demonstrations, or events like QC Unity Pride Week, these images speak to our common history and the society in which we live.
These joyous and vibrant photographs by Andy Abeyta are powerful portraits of pride in our community. Abeyta received his BA degree in Journalism from the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication. He was previously on staff at the Quad-City Times and currently works for The Gazette in Cedar Rapids. As a photojournalist, Abeyta is invested in documenting and sharing the stories of others through his work.
July 23, 2020
Artist Talk: Andy Abeyta - VIRTUAL
Andy Abeyta will present on his work as a photojournalist. Details TBA.
View the installation in the Lewis Gallery
As of late communities, families, and friends have been kept apart while countless events have been cancelled due to a force we cannot see. So what happens if we are unable to gather in celebration or in protest due to challenges like a pandemic? Perhaps we can look at images like these and consider how our shared humanity brings us together whatever distance parts us. Check QC Pride's website for updates on QC Pride Unity Week (new dates TBA) and stay tuned for online engagement opportunities for the month of June.
Music accompanying the exhibition videos: Camille Saint-Saëns - Tarantella Op. 6