Don’t h8, and don’t discrimin8.
That message was loud and clear on Tuesday, when the NOH8 Campaign celebrated its third anniversary with a gallery show at the House of Blues in West Hollywood. Organizers rolled out the red carpet for several celebrities, and DMC, from Run DMC, performed with actress Pauley Perette.
The campaign, created by partners and Los Angeles residents Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley, is a photographic silent protest to the passage of Prop. 8. Subjects are frequently photographed wearing white clothing with duct tape covering their mouths and the NOH8 symbol drawn on their faces.
“We were looking for a way to speak out,” Bouska said.
He said the first gallery show held in 2008 featured 300 photos, with Parshley being the first subject. Bouska said the project started with friends and family, but the initiative soon blossomed. This year, approximately 18,000 were on display, some as part of collages.
“We’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response,” Bouska said. “It just shows how much this campaign has grown.”
The campaign has expanded with help from social media sites, he said. The campaign website, www.noh8campaign.com, also allows interested parties to upload their own NOH8 photographs, and people from all over the world participated, Bouska said.
“It’s really cool,” he said. “It’s really community-driven.”
Bouska has been a professional photographer for four or five years, and has taken a variety of photos, including shots for Megan McCain’s book cover. He had never dabbled in human rights issues prior to NOH8, but the passage of Prop. 8 ignited a “newfound ambition,” he said.
“Something had to be done, and photos were our way to contribute,” Bouska added.
He said the issue had personal relevance, but he and Parshley weren’t trying to get married. Bouska denounced the legal battle that preceded Prop. 8, which featured opponents and proponents spending “over $150 million to battle love” in a down economy.
The campaign is not just about LGBT rights, however. Bouska said other minorities could be victim to similar discrimination.
“We’re trying to show that it’s relevant to everyone,” he said.
More than 150 people attended on Tuesday, and the event lured several musicians, actors and actresses, including LeAnn Rimes and Perette, who stars on NCIS. West Hollywood Councilmember John D’Amico was in attendance, and Mayor John Duran proclaimed Dec. 13 as “NOH8 Day” in West Hollywood while onstage.
Duran said the council’s presence at the event was to remind those in attendance that the NOH8 campaign is more than taking a photo with duct tape and the NOH8 symbol.
“It’s about getting out there and fighting for equality by voting, by getting involved,” Duran said.
He said the initiative reflects the power of art in making political and social statements. Duran said art has been a well-used outlet for the LGBT community as its members have struggled for equality throughout the years.
“Often, art has played a prominent role in the community’s protest to various issues,” he said. “This is just a continuation of this.”
Bouska continued to create artwork during the event, using the stage as his studio. Some of the red carpet guests, such as singer Rebecca Black and actress Mackenzie Phillips, donned the duct tape and NOH8 message for an impromptu photo shoot.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.