Carl Milton – Under the Rainbow, Together

The Crown Jewels — $260
2024, Medium Toy Doll, Found Objects, Acrylic Paint, Adhesive Beads, Glass Dome, 22 x 15 x 15cm

The Crown Jewels is intended to be a humorous sculpture with an emphasis on a celebrating the sparkle of gay life. The bling encrusted phallus accentuates the focus on the importance of sex in creating our conceptual identities.

While not advocating a blithe and frivolous attitude or approach to life, the world can feel like a complex and challenging place with geo political transitions, climate change ramifications, the looming tsunami of AI and advanced algorithms and the merger of bio tech and info tech. Despite the woes of the world, as a gay man, I feel it is important to cultivate some connection, humour and joy in order to ensure that one’s brief journey here is a life enhancing experience.

The Lavender Lookout — $300
2024, Found and Repurposed Objects, Pumice Stone, Glass Dome, Toy Doll, 22 x 15 x 15cm

The Lavender Lookout is a sculpture relating to the identification of Queerness in a young child. This is often picked up by others, long before the youngster themselves have the vocabulary or insights in order to be able to express their innate sense of alienation from mainstream society. Signals picked up from family, religion, education and society create a growing understanding that this is not a world that welcomes queerness. As a measure of self-protection and survival, having this awareness creates the conditioning an alert inner vigilance. Always having to be on the lookout – scanning the horizon for words of disapproval and signs of potential danger. The sense of inauthenticity that arises from forever monitoring oneself is a huge strain and puts the brakes on growing into one’s human magnificence. However, this journey called life can be full of surprises, twists and turns. Past is past. Attitudes can change. Curses can become blessing and challenges can morph into opportunities. Nothing is set in concrete – even well entrenched neural pathways. The copious ‘flowers’ that I have incorporated represent the blooming of wisdom. Hard to visualize as a queer youngster, but sometimes, one day, the lookout becomes the vantage point to being able to see the bigger picture of life and embrace the fullness of self.

About Carl Milton

I guess in some ways I was always out – or at least some people were able to pick up that there was a different energy within me that at times created a challenging life. I was born in early 1960’s Sydney and back then embracing an openly gay identity wasn’t a preferred option for a lot of gay folk. Role models were thin on the ground. Not much beyond the caricatures of Liberace or associations with depravity and tragedy. In the eyes of the law at the time, I was considered a criminal.

It wasn’t until my early adulthood that changes in laws and public opinion began gradually shifting towards a more accepting attitude, despite the emerging spectre of A.I D.S. Here in Sydney, the courage and activism of the 78’ers and other allies instigated a progression toward increasing LGBTQ+ visibility and laws improving human rights and outlawing discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community. Having experienced the tumultuous, but fantastic journey to where LGBTQ+ people are today, I remain far from complacent. I keep very aware that ongoing vigilance is needed to safeguard against the erosion of LGBTQ+ rights. I also acknowledge that there is still so much more global progress to be made – especially as the hard fought for LGBTQ+ rights is generally only thus far accepted and validated mostly by western democracies.