New paintings depict Ontario’s gay history

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George MacIntyre | Rick Madonik/Toronto Star | 14386

Artist George MacIntyre has been working on a series of paintings in honour of the most important places in the gay history of Toronto, which have now been exhibited. George hopes the twelve paintings will be made into a calendar. Just before the paintings were unveiled George told the local media, “It was 30 years ago this September that I was diagnosed with HIV.” That means he was diagnosed in 1982; that also means he is a walking miracle, and his work is therefore a bright and brave history of the darkest times.

He began to paint in Barrett House, Toronto’s first residence for men with AIDS. “Boys were dying there every day. Brother Gerrard — he was a lovely man — told us we each needed a project, something to lift us up.” George chose to paint in the folk-art style. … “There was a day, years ago, when I was staying at Casey House, when we lost three people in one day. Two families did not come to claim their relatives. We called around; no one would take the others, and then Rosar replied. They were the first funeral home in the city to bury people who had AIDS.”

SP

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