As far as alter-egos go, the birth of Constantina Bush was a momentous one.
Her creator, Gurindji visual and performing artist, Kamahi Djordan King, had just met then-US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, when a phone call derailed the whole encounter.
“I give her the painting and talk to her briefly, and my phone rings and I answer it and say ‘can you ring back, because I’m at a luncheon for that UN ambassador, Constantina Bush’. Everyone around was so quiet, and that’s how the name came about,” Mr King said.
With her sequinned dresses, fake lashes and no-holds-barred humour, Constantina Bush has travelled around Australia with her cabaret troup, Constantina and the Bushettes, and this weekend will headline Wyndham council’s Park Lounge event, which is being run as part of the Midsumma Festival.
“What I’m trying to do is get her to a point where she’s like a show girl and a female impersonator like Barry Humphries and Dame Edna Everage – because he’s straight, nobody ever calls him a drag queen, but because I’m gay, they call me a drag queen, and I’m not a drag queen,” Mr King said.
While Constantina lights up the stage, Mr King is busy presenting his latest exhibition, Shifting Elements and Camp Dogs, at the Wyndham Art Gallery. The exhibition will be on display until March 18.
Park Lounge is at Kelly Park, Werribee, from 4pm on February 3, and is one of three events being held during the Midsumma Festival, which celebrates lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex culture.
For more information, go to www.wyndham.vic.gov.au/arts