Title: Dancing with Elvis
Year: 1999 – 2021
Medium: Photographic print
Acquisition info: Gifted by the artist in 2021. SHARP studied at the University of Salford the late 1990s.
Dancing with Elvis are a set of 4 photographs that were taken within a space of Queer reflection afforded by the home studio environment of SHARP’s Manchester council tower block flat. These resulting works sit somewhere between self-portraits and still lives and present SHARP’s queer gaze upon themselves via
the television screen. Mirrored via Elvis is a masculinity, a butchness and a queerness which is overt and desired and is situated within SHARP’s everyday life.
The period of the 1990’s was the decade in which people lived under Section 28 which criminalised the ‘promotion of homosexuality’. This was a period of censorship in terms of visibility and representation of Queer identity. SHARP’s butch dyke and non-binary identity is not something that was available via mainstream media or even within their art education and so they created out of necessity as a personal exploration. This set of 4 photographs are split into 2 pairs. The first pair which show Elvis on an
old TV set within a darker deep red surround are the original prints from their Salford University degree show in 1996. The second pair were reprinted in 2021 and show Elvis in a cowboy hat surrounded by a softer pinker light which floods the still drawn makeshift curtains. Dancing with Elvis are a part of a larger Queer archive of photographic works by SHARP spanning 4 decades.