28 Jul 2022
Did you know that Hadrian was gay? As Hadrian's wall celebrates its 1900 birthday I worked with Curious Arts to rediscover the Emperors most beloved, a man from Bythia in North Africa.
Over the summer of 2022 I have been working with Curious Arts on Hadrian and Antinous a gay love story. The project celebrates the lost love story of the Emperor Hadrian and Antinous, a man who was born in Bythia in North Africa, and was brought to Rome as a boy to become a paige in Hadrian's court. When he reached early adulthood he became Hadrian's lover and the couple travelled together throughout the Roman Empire. In AD130 Antinous died in the Nile. It's not known if he fell, was pushed or threw himself into the Nile, but was is certain that Hadrian grieved inordinately and made Antinous a god, named a city in his name (Antinoopolis) and commissioned statues of Antionous throughout the empire. A religion worshipping Antinous, and rivalling the early days of Christianity grew up.
The Project included writing workshops led by Mary Lowe, three new songs commissioned from Nicky Rushton that were performed by LGBTQI choir, Northern Proud Voices, a sculpture workshop at BALTIC and a podcast for Tyne and Wear Museums and Archives.