LGBTQIA+ art blog #12: Team and friends at Waterloo Festival

For Pride Saturday, we've asked the supporters of and the teams behind Waterloo Festival and St John's Waterloo to put together this blogpost, featuring works by LGBTQIA+ artists which is dear and inspirational to them.

Back in 2017, while catching up at one of our favourite haunts in Glasgow, the writer Shola von Reinhold coyly admitted that they were working on a novel. The only information I could get from them at the time was that it was centred around a 1920s secret society based loosely on the Lotus Eaters. It wasn’t until March this year, when their debut novel Lote was published through Jacaranda Books’ Twenty in 2020 initiative, that I realised what an important writer I had known all these years. The subject reaches well beyond the realms of a fantastical group of people, and is a pointed and illuminating challenge to how we have written black, queer people out of history. I won’t give too much away (that would ruin it!) but it is a captivating and hilarious read, augmented by von Reinhold’s natural wit and charm.

Eilidh Duffy

Writer and Communications Officer at the Waterloo Festival.

Benjamin Britten! For that unmistakeable combination of sweetness and sting, for bringing so many exceptional poems into his music — think the War Requiem! — and, on a very personal note, for the gorgeousness of his Canticle 1 ‘My Beloved is Mine’, op 40, which I think of as the theme tune to my wedding to my beloved. It was sung by a young music student who did it proud.  

Susan Blishen

Development Manager at St John's Waterloo and soon-to-be Psychotherapist.

Cecco di Caravaggio is one of the little known footnotes of art history. Only one picture is definitely by him – The Resurrection, in the Art Institute of Chicago – and until the 1990’s he was practically unknown. I came across his work in an exhibition of the paintings of the much more famous Michelangelo di Merisi – better known as Caravaggio - a few years ago. A tantalising picture of a tambourine player was described as being by Cecco di Caravaggio, Caravaggio’s servant and probably lover.
His full real name was Francesco (‘Cecco’ is short for Francesco) Buoneri. His work has the hallmarks of his master – the use of light and dark, the lively composition, the depictions of ordinary people doing extraordinary things – being angels, resurrecting, living life to the full. He was also the model for many of Caravaggio’s figures – not least the famous picture of John the Baptist looking more like Bacchus than a saint!
Rome at the beginning of the seventeenth century was a place of excitement and experiment, socially, sexually and creatively. Caravaggio was at the heart of it all before he had to flee to escape arrest. It’s not certain whether Cecco fled with him, but in Caravaggio’s last picture, David with the head of Goliath, he is depicted as David and Caravaggio as Goliath. So perhaps they were together until the end. There’s more about Francesco Buoneri here.

Giles Goddard

Chair at Waterloo Festival, Vicar at St John's Waterloo and Chair of the General Synod Human Sexuality Group.

For me what immediately springs to mind is Derek Jarman’s house and garden at Dungeness. It is a unique creation. It is a work of art and a place of inspiration and imagination. Naturalised plants and found objects blend into a very special landscape. I have spent happy times there with my sketch book drawing and then pausing to remember an artist who displays his genius in this beautiful place.

Chris Clarke

Artist and teacher based in Waterloo. Read more about him here.

Only recently discovered, Femenine is a mesmerising piece for chamber ensemble from 1974. It was written by the groundbreaking American black gay composer Julius Eastman, who said that "the end [of Fememnine] sounds like the angels opening up heaven." Eastman rose to prominence in the early 70s performing with leading American figures such as Pauline Oliveros, Morton Feldman and John Cage. Later, moving further down in Lower Manhattan, he would collaborate with Meredith Monk and Arthur Russell but would go one to die alone and homeless aged 49, with his music almost disappearing with him until a resurgence over the last few years.

Euchar Gravina

Composer from Malta based in London. Artistic Director at Waterloo Festival and St John's Waterloo. Read more here.

The album Deep Listening by the lesbian composer Pauline Oliveros completely changed the way I listen to music and sound. Her concepts of “deep listening” and “sonic awareness” have opened my eyes to a world of sound art and music I didn’t even realise existed. The aesthetics of improvisation and ritual found in her music has deeply influenced my own compositions and sonic creations. It was a joy to be able to perform one of her works at St John’s last year, and I hope to share more of her work with the community in the future.

Josh Mock

Composer and Musician. Curator of LGBTQIA+ art blog at Waterloo Festival. Student at SOAS. Read more here.

My first glimpse of Michelangelo’s Pietà “in the flesh” took my breath away. The work is full of paradoxes: the adoration of the young mother cradling her adult son; the contrast of the breathing sculpture with the lifeless figure; the modesty of the clothed Virgin with the raw nakedness of her son. As I left the Basilica, however, I realised that what moved me most was the contrast between the religious subject and the physicality which Michelangelo manages to instil in Christ’s limbs. Here the sensual and the spiritual meet as one.

Paul Elliot

Former Deputy Head at The Purcell School.

Check out our previous blogposts at the lgbtqia+ art blog section (on the left). It includes a post by Beth McHattie, our Communications and Marketing guru, and Shanon Shah, who sits on the Waterloo Festival Programming Committee.


As part of Pride Month 2020, Crossbeam and Waterloo Festival are presenting a blog, featuring LGBTQIA+ artists and those who hold LGBTQIA+ art dear to them.

Josh Mock, curating the series, writes:

"It is my hope that by sharing the stories of diverse artists, we can appreciate and celebrate all those who strive to use art as a vehicle for LGBTQIA+ inclusion, activism, and advocacy."