Hey, Hetero! is a public art project first produced as the major visual arts event of the 2001 Sydney Gay+Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival.
Deborah Kelly conceived, produced and wrote the project and collaborated with photographer Tina Fiveash to make the six pieces.
Hey, Hetero! returns the gaze at heterosexuality. In the form of simulated mainstream ‘advertisements’, the artwork invites heterosexuality into public discourse. We’re surrounded, and scrutinised minutely, by state, church, our own nervous neighbours. Hey, hetero! seeks to articulate the great silences that support hegemony and to address directly the love that need not speak its name.
By simulating advertising and occupying its spaces, the project sought access to the public attention accorded to commercial messages and denied to ‘Art’. Hey, hetero! is a trojan horse. It mimics and destabilises the conventions of advertising. This work appeared in illuminated bus shelters in the Sydney downtown area, on two 6x3 meter billboards, on 40,000 free postcards, in newspapers, on radio programs, in magazines in Australia, Canada, Denmark and Germany, and in a dedicated subsite of the Australian Broadcasting Commission website.
The project has appeared at the 2001 Feast Festival in Adelaide, in Wellington, New Zealand in 2002, through Melbourne in 2002, and as broadcast television advertisements with Melbourne’s Channel 31. It was the headline visual arts project of Glasgay in 2006, appearing throughout the Glasgow subway system, and was shown in Berlin, and in Nicosia, Cyprus in 2007. In 2011, students plastered 1,500 prints of the artworks across 5 campuses in Claremont, California, instigating passionate furore. In 2015 all six pieces were translated into Greek for the Biennale of Thessaloniki
The project has been taught in tertiary institutions across Australia and internationally in various disciplines: anthropology, sociology, media/communications, cultural and gender studies.
Hey, Hetero! won the 2001 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Arts Prize.