Luna Mey

Johannesburg is Queer

14.04.23 > 27.05.23

Luna Mey is a 23-year old Franco-German self-taught photographer and documentary-filmmaker and a journalism student at Sciences Po. Her work focuses on political movements, human rights and subcultural groups. She likes to capture raw human emotions spontaneously, while situating them in a broader socio-political or cultural context.

Her political science studies at Sciences Po brought her to Johannesburg, where she studied at the University of Witwatersrand. The vibrancy and omnipresent pulse of Johannesburg’s famous nightlife, as well as the abundant creativity of its citizens, make Jozi her favourite place in the world.

The exhibit, Johannesburg is Queer, is an immersion into the LGBTQIA+ community and ballroom culture of the largest city in South Africa and one of the most dynamic cities in the world. Even though homophobia still destroys lives in South Africa, queerness has claimed its permanent space in the infrastructure of Jozi nights.

Everywhere in the world, “ballroom” takes place to celebrate the enormous creativity of the LGBTQIA+ community. Created in the US in the 1970s by people of colour who were often rejected by white gay venues, ballroom is dance and walking competitions between “houses”, which serve as second families to those who were often abandoned by their biological families due to their sexual orientation or gender. The houses compete in different categories such as “face” or “best outfit”. They vogue (a way of dancing) and present their extravagant outfits by “walking” in front of a group of judges and the public.

Ballroom is not only about partying and competition, but also are a safe space for people of colour who identify as queer. In ballroom culture, everyone is welcome to express their deepest selves, without fear of discrimination.