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Photo courtesy of Hilal Khalil

BY CASSIDY KLEIN

Mark for Redaction, a group exhibition currently on display in Long Island City at the Flux Factory through Nov. 11, is showcasing contemporary art from self-identified LGBTQ people who have ties to southwest Asia, North Africa and the respective diaspora.

The exhibit is “meant to challenge everything that people might think about the exhibit,” according to show curator Hilal Khalil.

“The public should know nothing about [the exhibit], they should just come see it,” Khalil said. “Let go of preconceived notions of identity … People come with their own understandings and baggage, and this is really a chance for you to unpack your own baggage.”

The exhibit, on display at place at 39-31 29th St. in Long Island City, is free to attend and open to the public Thursday through Sunday from 1 to 6 p.m. or by appointment.

Theater artist Ramy El-Etreby will perform a live solo performance Nov. 10 called, “The Ride,” about his own coming of age which focuses on “growing up Muslim and discovering I’m gay, and falling in love with my best friend.”

“Middle Eastern artists exist at this intersection of queerness,” said El-Etreby, who is based in Los Angeles. “And they are very diverse even within that. I think this exhibit is a greater opportunity to share with the larger arts community about that.”

Mark for Redaction was the vision of former Flux Factory resident Razan Al-Salah, who said venue seeks to provide a safer space for artists and attendees to discuss identity and queerness by displaying works of art that challenge personal bias.

Artists from Queens and from all over the world are represented at the exhibit, including many in the Middle East.

“If people want to see real, personal pieces of art, real stories, come to my show,” Khalil said. “This is as real as it’s going to get. There are people who can’t even be here in the U.S. for this show, a lot of my artists are affected by travel bans. So my show is directly affected.”

Mark for Redaction will hold special film screenings throughout the duration of the exhibit that continue to explore selfhood and gender. The screenings are free and will next be held Nov. 3 and 4.

Salon Al-Mahjar, an open mic event for immigrant queer, trans-gendered and allied artists, is set for Nov. 11 from 1 to 5 p.m in conjunction with the exhibit. The gallery will open early at noon for viewing.

“I’m giving marginalized people in my community a space,” Khalil said. “The big feedback from the community so far has been thank you for including me, for putting this on. It’s really been a labor of love.”

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