DRESSED TO IMPRESS: Maude Boate (AKA Michael Gates).
DRESSED TO IMPRESS: Maude Boate (AKA Michael Gates).

Drag queen diva celebrated in Maudeville exhibition

MAUDEVILLE is an exhibition of the costumes of Maude Boate, the queen of Lismore's drag queens, but it is also a celebration of the genius of her creator, Michael Gates, and how his work has enriched the community.

Michael Gates is a fourth-generation Lismore man, son of a former Lismore mayor, ex-owner of Lismore Bridal, and current events coordinator of the Tropical Fruits Festival.

As Maude, Gates has won 18 DIVA Awards (Drag Industry Variety Awards) and in 2007 was inducted into the DIVA Hall of Fame.

This exhibition shows the outrageous outfits and many reincarnations of a true icon.

Lismore Regional Gallery director Breet Adlington explained why the exhibition was a great fit to accompany this year's Tropical Fruit Festival.

"Lismore Regional Gallery has been discussing working with Michael Gates for quite some time, as he really epitomises what makes Lismore unique," he said.

"Growing up here, and being the son of a former mayor, his return and presence (and more so Maude's presence) capture the openness and acceptance of present-day Lismore.

"We have purposefully staged this exhibition to run concurrent to the Tropical Fruits New Year's Eve Festival, and will open the afternoon of the parade, and the following day."

Mr Adlington said the exhibition was more than just about fashion, but creativity and artistic expression.

"In the past few years, there has been a bit of a move throughout the art museum sector to stage the blockbuster fashion show, however I haven't seen this project in this way," he said.

"Michael's creations are not about fashion, or indeed clothing. They are exuberant expressions of creativity that almost act as positive talismans for a community who had weathered the ravages of HIV/AIDS and victimisation," he said.

At the Lismore Regional Gallery from Saturday, December 5.

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