Chris Olwage, semi finalist on New Zealand's Got Talent as gender bending ballet dancer, was our very own Mr Gay New Zealand, AND Mr Gay World 2013. Committed to the LGBTQ+ community for many years he has worked as a performer, model, spokesperson, artist and dancer for many events, charities and organisations.
Chris' new body of work which includes an exhibition of paintings and a one night performance, makes a statement, one that challenges perceptions. It is confronting, but the task to the viewer is to question the knowledge, gather the information, ignore what has been TOLD and process the FACTS. What if Christ were gay? What if the virgin Mary was not a virgin? What if Christ had a long time lover in John the Apostle or even Lazarus whom he raised from the dead? How different would the world be? How different would you be?
About Christopher Olwage
Chris Olwage, a semi-finalist on New Zealands Got Talent as a ballet dancing gender bending performer, was our very own Mr Gay New Zealand and then later on Mr Gay World 2013. Committed to the LGBTQ+ community for many years he has worked as a performer, model, spokesperson, artist and dancer for many events, charities and organizations, some including the NZAF and GABA. Throughout his reign as Mr Gay World, he endeavours to spread his message of Self-love and Acceptance, Youth empowerment, Love is Love, anti-bullying and suicide prevention through the arts..
In 2012 on the hit show “New Zealand’s Got Talent” he presented before the panel, a live audience, and the nation, his Black Swan performance. In 2013 Chris was approached by the then reigning Mr. Gay World 2012, Andy Derleth, and asked if he had considered entering Mr. Gay NZ too. Chris believing that it would be a good experience and fun to boot registered and consequently won the title. A few months later he received his official invite to represent NZ at the international competition Mr. Gay World in Antwerp Belgium. His tenure since has been planning how, where and when to implement and spread his message: Love, Time and Acceptance.
Whilst he has been a guest of honour, charitable dinner guest, judge and performer for many Community based events in NZ and abroad; the prevention of LGBT youth suicide, the empowerment of today's youth and the fostering of real life role-models are at the top of his list of things to accomplish. All the while he also has to keep an observant eye on the global LGBT scene and often has to comment and otherwise inform others of what is going on around the world. His experience is ever growing and his enthusiasm and lust to do more is unending. "I cannot solve the world's problems, I can only try to create change for the better and hope that someone joins the cause. I am only one person, but you and me together; we'll make an army"
As an accomplished self taught artist, Chris has an infused contemporary style that is photographic, iconographic and unique to him. He has exhibited as part of a group collection at the Old Government House in Auckland, and has several works in the James Wallace Art Collection, with works often in circulation at the Pah Homestead and Rannoch. He is an avid fan of the Symbolist and Pre-Raphaelite movements, but most inspired by the works of the early, mid, and late Renaissance painters and the technique and beauty the neoclassic style.
About 'Ecco Homo'
Chris' works in ‘Ecce Homo: Behold Man!’ are a commentary on the social construct on religion and sexuality. How one’s morals derived from religion affects the mind and processing of the spectrum that is sexuality. Furthermore, it explores the unchartered territory of the Queer Christ perspective. The premise being: we always perceive Christ as this untouchable, holier than thou, godhead being who seemingly is asexual and loves unconditionally all whom he meets; however, in accepting this version we forget that therein lies a problem… what of sexuality? If Christ came to earth, he was placed in a human body to experience human life… He was made flesh, then surely he would also have had to have had a sexuality. Surely He would have experienced the same temptations as other men (or women) and the same desires? On this subject, the scriptures are unclear, if not outright ambiguous; what was Christ’s sexuality? May he have acted upon it? If so, with whom? Many scholarly works have now been produced proffering that Christ may have been bisexual (not as the self-made label but as an act that was common in those times according to Hellenic traditions) or even farther afield, homosexual. A homophile… a lover of men.
Chris' works make a statement, one that challenges perceptions. It is confronting, but the task to the viewer is to question the knowledge, gather the information, ignore what has been TOLD and process the FACTS. What if Christ were Gay? What if the Virgin Mary was not a Virgin? What if Christ had a long-time lover in John the Apostle or even Lazarus whom he raised from the dead? How different would the world be? How different would you be?
Questioning leads to discourse, discourse provides understanding… understanding deepens faith. Whether it is aligned with or anti this ‘truth’ you still walk away with more than you had before.
LOT23 Cafe | Gallery | Studio | Venue 23 Minnie Street, Eden Terrace, AK