Blanka Jędra, Marek Kucharski

The Colour you are facing

In 1892, during the premiere of “Lady Windermere’s Fan”, Oscar Wilde ordered one of the actresses to decorate herself with a green carnation. Some of Wilde’s supporters did the same and from that point on, the environment centred around the playwright has been associated with artificially coloured green carnations. Wilde himself avoided this subject when asked about the meaning of this flower, but very soon the combination of green and yellow (symbolizing rejection and disappointment) became a symbol of people engaged in “unnatural” love. These colours were significant not only among male homosexuals. They also became a symbol of other rejected environments. The penalization of homosexual love in Victorian times meant that artists could not express their views openly and therefore colour codes were often the only way to encrypt hidden meanings in the works of that time. The English word “gay” at first was an adjective that defined a person with a joyful and light disposition. After Wilde, however, it began to be associated with homosexuality. Therefore, sometimes “gay” is seen as the abbreviation for “green and yellow”.