Museum of London acquires works by Sunil Gupta

Hales is delighted to announce the Museum of London has acquired 'Pretended' Family Relationships, by critically acclaimed photographer and queer activist Sunil Gupta. The acquisition of this landmark 1988 work precedes its permanent display in the Museum of London's upcoming West Smithfield location - The London Museum, opening 2026 - in a gallery dedicated to the history of home life in the capital.


The title of Sunil Gupta's series 'Pretended' Family Relationships (1988) references an incendiary phrase in Margaret Thatcher's controversial Section 28, which prohibited local authorities from promoting "the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship".The series consists of three-part photo collages that pair portraits of interracial, same-sex couples with lines of poetry by Gupta's then partner, the poet and academic Stephen Dodd. Gupta's series documents the intimacy, ordinariness and domesticity of gay relationships, counter to commonplace stereotypes of homosexuality at the time of the work's creation.

This acquired series of four photo collages will be displayed at The London Museum, enabling visitors to see LGBTQ+ life reflected in the museum's Past Time galleries. With the work's focus on interracial same-sex couples and domestic intimacy, 'Pretended' Family Relationships will reside within the Home section of Past Time, reflecting the domestic lives of the museum's LGBTQ+ visitors and communicating the links between home life, family bonds, political history and personal identity. The work will go on display as The London Museum opens to visitors in 2026, preceded by a festival in 2025.



Sunil Gupta 

Pretended Family Relationships

Museum of London

150 London Wall





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June 28, 2022