Film Stills 2019-2020
Angelina Jesson and Jaron Hill have been commissioned by Leeds Museum and Yorkshire MESMAC to create an artwork inspired by the experiences of LGBTQ+ people in West Yorkshire. The artists have created an audiovisual queer storybook, interweaving modern tales of love, community and activism set against the backdrop of West Yorkshire. Real testimonies from the county's LGBTQ+ community become the basis for a topsy turvy journey through a complex web of stories that highlights the wonderfully colourful, kaleidoscopic and ever-changing nature of what it means to identify as queer in West Yorkshire.
The artists irreverently collage West Yorkshire’s industrial and natural landscapes with ramshackle environments created from repurposed everyday and domestic objects, catapulting the viewer into alternate realities with a sense of childlike glee and limitless imagination.
Each chapter encourages the ordinary to sink into absurdism, stretching and contorting fantastical bodies framed by middle-English values and culture. The film brings light to the real faces of the queer community, celebrating the tales of those who until now remained largely unseen, hidden in plain sight. From West Yorkshire's only gay choir to West Yorkshire's only transgender-owned, queer-focused MOT Garage, the county's queer citizens become collaborators, performing heightened versions of themselves within the work. Riding West on a Walrus Tail is a collision of imagination and history, creating an uncanny and timeless mise-en-scène of everyday life. The result is a frantic and fractured collage of identities, environments and materials, revealing the strangely wonderful connections hidden within environments, events and everyday things.
In this over the top celebration of queerness, the film chronicles the bizarre in an unabashed pastiche of familiar fairytale tropes. Riding West on a Walrus Tail is ripe with symbolic imagery of West Yorkshire's past, present and future. Challenging and reimagining notions of familiar identities, the film seeks to give queer people the chance to tell their own stories, painting a striking new vision of a queer new world.