Kurt van Velzen

Image by Kate Meakin

Kurt van Velzen’s Masters collection, Friend of Dorothy, looks into the nuanced world of gay semiotics through an expansion on ‘The Hanky Code’, the sartorial code used in the gay community in the 70s and 80s, and Hal Fischer’s Gay Semiotics (1977). These are explored through Kurt’s own experience, manifesting in materials and construction details that establish an intrinsic and lurid connection to the active body. The way in which clothing, and how it is worn, forms a language—here, as a signal of sexual preference to those ‘in the know’—is central to the collection. This is explored through techniques of needle felting and coloured dyes. The collection explores the nuances of dressing, and asks: are you a friend of Dorothy?

Wominjeka (Welcome). We acknowledge the Yaluk-ut Weelam as the traditional custodians of the land on which we meet. Yaluk-ut Weelam means ‘people of the river camp’ and is connected with the coastal land at the head of Port Phillip Bay, extending from the Werribee River to Mordialloc. The Yaluk-ut Weelam are part of the Boon Wurrung, one of the five major language groups of the greater Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to the land, their ancestors and their elders—past, present and to the future.