A multidisciplinary project that seeks to honour Scottish pop singer Jimmy Somerville through a variety of artistic gestures, each with the aim of writing Somerville into pop history as an heroic contributor to queer culture. In particular, the project recognizes the song Smalltown Boy as an anthem for generations of queers, with lyrics that remain as poignant and relevant today as they were in 1984.
The first gesture involved the design of a decorative heraldic flag featuring an embroidered image of Somerville produced in collaboration with artist Heather Goodchild, with ribbons stitched with the lyrics from Smalltown Boy. For the exhibition Rockstars and Wannabes at Urban Primitive, the flag was activated through a jogging performance in which Nemer ran through the streets of downtown Winnipeg, Canada tracing the refrain of the song—run away, turn away, run away, turn away—letter by letter into the pavement.
The initiative continued with a series of designs proposals for an official Jimmy Somerville tartan. The designs were exhibited as posters at You Don’t Really Care for Music, do You? at Red Bull 281 Projects, 2018. Nemer sang three Somerville songs at the vernissage, accompanied by Orev Reena Katz on violin.
The final gesture is a video honouring the unique sonic and political qualities of Jimmy Somerville’s voice, entitled Portrait of a Young Man.