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Artist hopes to get artwork autographed by Elton John for LGBTQ2S+ charity initiative
EDMONTON --A Calgary artist made the trip to Edmonton this weekend, hoping to get legendary singer Elton John’s attention during his tour stop in the city.
Phillip Bandura brought with him five art pieces, which he calls gay bombs. The artwork is shaped like a bomb and features petri dishes filled with glitter and the Pride colours.
John purchased one of Bandura’s gay bombs from a Calgary art director nearly 10 years ago.
“He actually collected a number of pieces from my collective,” said Bandura.
The sale changed his life, he said.
“Just seeing how he promotes himself and seeing how he lives his life, knowing that he was on board with some of my artwork, really empowered me I feel to come out and be who I am as well.”
He made the gay bomb to help the End of the Rainbow Foundation raise money. It’s a not-for-profit organization that helps members of the LGBTQ2S+ community who are facing persecution find refuge in Canada.
“Canada is one of the only countries in the world that actually has refugee status for people that were persecuted for their sexuality,” Bandura said.
The idea for the piece came after Bandura researched weapons and found the gay bomb was actually a thing.
“In 1994, the U.S. military actually spent a bunch of money researching if they could make a gay bomb,” said Bandura.
“And the idea was is they would drop it on opposing forces and everyone would become so sexually attracted they wouldn’t be able to pay attention and the U.S could go in and get rid of them all.”
Although Bandura’s art reflects a serious topic, he said he tries to bring in a light-hearted aspect to it.
“Hearing something like that could be hurtful because I don’t need a bomb, like I didn’t get bombed to be gay and if I was, I would hope that I could still fight if I was in the military,” he said.
“I would hope that an idea of a gay bomb wouldn’t come up as something as a military weapon anymore but it’s just meant to make that whole conversation funny as well.”
Now he hopes to raise even more money and awareness by getting John to sign one.
“If I could get this signed by Elton John it just raises awareness of the good work that the End of the Rainbow Foundation is doing in helping people come to Canada,” said Bandura.
His friends have even reached out to the singer on social media.
“Phillip is big and bold and if anyone’s going to listen to that I think it would be Elton John,” said Fraser Tripp.
“The concept of the gay bomb from the very beginning is fascinating in itself but to use it for such a good initiative, for something that could potentially save somebody’s life is an amazing, just amazing gesture,” Tripp added.
The artwork, signed by John or not, is being used to raise money for the Calgary Rainbow Railroad Station, through the End of the Rainbow Foundation.