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The art of Stonewall remembrance

On the 42nd anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York, we look at the many artistic tributes made to the event

The art of Stonewall remembrance

Today (28 June) marks the 42nd anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in New York City and over the past four decades tributes ranging from films to mesmerising street art have been created to remember the historic event.

The riots took place at the Stonewall Inn, New York City, after people in the gay bar fought back against the police who were carrying out an unwarranted raid.

Several evenings of rioting followed and the spreading news coverage of the events transformed the gay rights movement from an underground movement to an international campaign.

In 2000, the Stonewall Inn was designated as an historic landmark and across the road in Christopher Park, where some of the rioting took place, stands a sculpture of a gay couple by NY sculptor David Segal.

June was declared LGBT rights month by Bill Clinton in 2000 in remembrance of Stonewall. Gay pride marches have been held annually in June to remember the changes made by the riots.

Last year (2010) saw the release of the documentary film Stonewall Uprising, directed by Kate Davis and David Heilbroner, featuring interviews with veterans of the riots.

Many musicians have also paid tribute to the event over the years including a rock music tribute by renowned singer and drag performer, Varla Jean Merman.

But most interesting of all the tributes GSN could find is a graffiti mural by NYC anti-discrimination group YMSM (Young Men who have Sex with Men).

The multicoloured mural captures the viewer’s attention at first glance and showcases the sheer terror faced by gay rights movements in their quest for equal rights. The tribute is located in NYC and YMSM is currently focused on ending discrimination against people living with AIDS in the NY gay community.

Stonewall marked the turning point where homosexuality changed from an underground subculture to a worldwide movement aiming to change sexual politics around the globe.

The many colourful tributes seen across the world mark the outstanding effect gay rights has had on the arts and draws support from all areas of society.

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