The Trust – a conservation charity that maintains hundreds of properties across the UK, has been roughly criticized by the mainstream conservative media in the country (like Daily Mail) for celebrating LGBT history. But in spite of it all they did not stop doing it, unveiling a bold new installation at Kingston Lacy, a Trust property in Dorset.The Kingston Lacy former owner William John Bankes, an explorer, scholar and art collector, thought about transforming it into a palazzo but these plans did not become a reality as he was exiled after being caught on ‘indecent act’ which might have been punishable by death that time.
The Trust this week launched its new installation, EXILE, which is says will enable visitors to learn more about Bankes’ exile, and also consider his extraordinary story within a broader context of historical persecution of LGBTQ people. As part of the project the rainbow flag will be flown at Kingston Lacy from 18 September, the day that William John Bankes went into exile, until 12 November. As visitors enter the house, they will encounter ‘In Memoriam’, a powerful tribute to the 51 men who were punished by death for homosexuality. Further into the house, the second installation – ‘Displaced’ – uses projection and sound to make connections between Bankes’ story and the ongoing persecution of LGBTQ people, drawing on contemporary experiences of those forced to leave their homes in the UK and abroad. The final installation – ‘Prejudice, Persecution, Pride’ – sets Bankes’ story within a global history that examines how the law has shaped – and continues to shape – LGBTQ lives.