Dublin street artist using St Patrick’s Day to support the LGBT community
Over the last decade the western world has made historic strides in advancing the rights of the LGBT community. A wave of acceptance has transpired legally, politically and culturally.
We witnessed over 26 million people overlay their Facebook profile pictures with a rainbow filter after the US Supreme Court handed down the historic decision legalizing gay-marriage across the country. Globally we continue to progress towards equality with 22 countries supporting same-sex marriage and the UN passing the resolution against LGBT discrimination in 2014. We’ve celebrated the courage of Caitlyn Jenner and eventually… the success of Moonlight at the Oscars. 2015 not only saw the first US president (guess which one) to talk about transgender rights in a State of the Union address but also welcomed the first LGBT group in 254 years to march proudly in the New York City St Patrick’s Day parade.
Despite these advancements, there remains a constant violent struggle for the LGBT community. The world was devastated when 49 people lost their lives and over 50 were injured in the horrific shooting at the gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando, Florida. This event inspired El Viz (Trevor Coulahan) to use his art to support the victims of the devastating hate crime. El Viz in creating and promoting his pride painting, a geometric pop art piece, has raised awareness and financial assistance for the LGBT community, both in the United States and Ireland. He auctioned the original canvas painting, donating 100% of the sale to The George Bar to help their fundraising efforts for the victims of the mass shooting. In addition, to celebrate Dublin Pride and support the Yes Equality campaign, he released a limited edition run of 50 prints of the image. 50% of the sale of every print was donated to ‘BeLonG To’, an Irish organization that provides support services and resources to young LGBT people and families and educate and increase awareness to eliminate homophobia and transphobia.
XWHY Magazine was privileged to hear El Viz speak about marriage equality and what this piece means to him while he was halfway through painting it on a wall in Smithfield, Dublin, on St Patrick’s Day eve. When commissioned to paint a piece for St Patrick’s Day, El Viz wanted to display the progressiveness of Ireland and its support for its people’s differences. “St Patrick’s Day is no more just a Christian holiday”, he explained, “It’s a celebration of all things Irish, Ireland and our amazing culture and people. The same culture that’s a tapestry of many shapes, forms and creeds that make up the modern progressive Ireland of 2017”. His passionate view of a progressive Ireland goes hand in hand with the country’s overwhelming support for gay-marriage, which in November 2015 saw it become the first country to legalise gay marriage by national vote.