Tracing A City, A South Asian Queer Pamphlet (2019)

“A South Asian Queer Pamphlet is a transcendental concept that aims to create fluid understandings of non-hegemonical cultural expression and south-Asian subaltern fluid perspectives. For us, fear is like a panoramic situation where the idea(s) of co-existence are always considered as a ‘hypothetical state.’ We believe, ‘Fearless-Queerness’ will be the future strength that will help us express the subversive marginal and political collective ‘unlearning’.”

Lazare Lazarus, Sugiton (2020)

Warning: contains pornographic content

Password: TQAF2020

“Sugiton is the story of my date with Evren in the erotic landscapes of pine, limestone and multiflorous heather of the Calanque de Sugiton, which is famous in Marseille for being a gay naturist beach.”

Lazare Lazarus, Suburb Pornography (2020)

“In this drawing, I illustrate the sexuality of suburban bodies, that were created on the outskirts of big cities.”

Peter Max Lawrence, QUEER in KANSAS (2007)

QUEER in KANSAS is a film that seeks to explore the ultimate truths and lies found through introspection and self-deception using a variety of media: Super8 film, various video formats, still photography, voice messages and more. This home movie-turned-experimental art documentary explores the relationship between depression and an unstoppable need to create. Though dark and somber at places, its use of humor, and a great sense of joie de vivre balance the film. The film is an autobiographical coming of age story that focuses on an artist who is fatalistically coming to terms with both his artistic endeavors as well as his sexual identity.

Lazare Lazarus, Cruising Islands (2019)

“This is a drawing inspired by the island of “Ramier,” a mecca for gay flirting for 50 years, south of Toulouse, in the Garonne archipelago – now threatened by gentrification.”

Ahmet Rüstem Ekici, Daydream I, II, III (2018)

Note: These works include Augmented Reality animations. To watch these AR videos, please download the ARTIVIVE app for free on your smartphone, and point your camera towards the computer.

Ahmet Rüstem Ekici, Davet (2019)

Architecture stimulates our habits and behaviours in terms of socialising. Hammam is a space not only to bathe but also to socialise. But in terms of fear and gathering who is socialising in these spaces today? Although the tranquility caused by the diffusion of daylight leaking from the eyes of the elephant to the place with steam, creates sub-dome verjuice, the baths hosted socialisation, riots, organisations, pleasure, healing, murders, legends. Today, the “Hammam” exhibition, which has turned into a very touristic experience and whose number is gradually decreasing and whose original architecture has changed, looks at the keyhole with its personal testimony, verbal memory and various constructions, and brings the audience to the invisible behind the visible with the Artivive application.

Festival Programme: Ahmet Rüstem Ekici will lead the “Introduction to Augmented Reality and the Artivive Application” workshop on June 27th (5PM EEST) taking place on TQAF’s Instagram

Ahmet Rüstem Ekici, Merman (2019)

Ahmet Rüstem Ekici, Hidden (2019)

Note: These works include Augmented Reality animations. To watch these AR videos, please download the ARTIVIVE app for free on your smartphone, and point your camera towards the computer.

Ahmet Rüstem Ekici, Arınma (2019)

Ahmet Rüstem Ekici, Peştemallılar (2019)

Dimitris Tairis, The Urge (2019-2020)

The Urge is a photographic project/research that focuses on public men restrooms and the interactions taking place there from the 80s to the present.

Marika Kochiashvili, Fear of the Nipple (2019)

The cultural framework of Georgian society is determined by the Orthodox Church, headed by the Patriarch. The edicts issued by this 87-year-old celibate monk strive to keep the community morally virtuous by conforming to a traditional and patriarchal mode of being.

“The Fear of the Nipple series is a celebration of femininity and a direct assault on the misogynistic system that shamed me when I was growing up as a queer adolescent in Tbilisi. The moral policing that I experienced in my youth is now being translated into the digital platforms where we now live. We are forced to self-censor our bodies to fit within social media guidelines.”

Santanu Dutta, Those Days and Nights in the closet I, II and III (2019)

Most homosexual individuals of India of varying social classes – although the law under section 377 which criminalised homosexuality has been abolished since 2018 – would still prefer to be in the closet. The 1861 implemented colonial law has forged a cultural perception of the people that stray from heteronormative behaviours, to be seen as offenders imbibed with profanities; pariahs. A gay individual would still prefer to be in the metaphorical closet to avoid disgrace and to fully integrate in Indian society. “My drawings reveal the contradictory closet; a queer space born out of fear where life is enjoyed despite the constraints of trepidation.”

Arvin Ombika, SYMPOSIUM (2017)

“This work draws from the discourses set out in Plato’s ‘SYMPOSIUM’, where intellectuals discuss and debate same-sex love. Through their dialogue, homosexuality is justified in an otherwise constructed heteronormativity. The naturalisation of heteronormative perception in society engenders a fear of homophobia and being persecuted by law in some countries like (my country), Mauritius, for example. The dread which reigns, forces gay men to be closeted and deny full recognition of their sexual identity, and is represented by the white drape/veil in this painting.”

Arvin Ombika, Whited Sepulcher: Sec.250 – 1938 (2020)

This painting is a reference to the colonial era’s law enforced in 1938 under section 250 that criminalises homosexuality in Mauritius. Alongside cultural perceptions, this forces most Mauritian queers to ‘put up an act in the society,’ thus becoming a Whited Sepulcher to themselves. The sugarcane field is a lieu de mémoire of imperial nostalgia. The whip refers to the Victorian imposition of Section 250 and makes the homosexual individual seem as though they derive sadistic pleasure under the threat of criminalisation, as if in BDSM play.

Simona Mancheva, Induction (2019)

Today, mandalas are commonly used to represent a wholeness; a sort of visual diagram that uses patterns as symmetry as a representation of microcosms. With the rising trends of using colouring books as a stress-management method, it is often the shape of a mandala that transforms this method in a fun, abstract, and participatory visual experience. Induction presents colour-in mandalas with erotic displays that will stimulate and encourage discussions around sexuality, safe sex practices, desire, pleasure and sex work.

Induction consists of 20 drawings created in the context of HOPS (Healthy Options Project Skopje) in collaboration with sex workers.

Click here to open and download Induction (Colouring Book)

SIKSA, Revenge on the Enemy (2020)

Revenge on the Enemy features excerpts of poetry from a ‘concept album’ of the same title, which SIKSA will release later in 2020. It contains personal stories of rape, trauma, and revenge. It was performed live in Europe from 2017-2018 as a punk performance / spoken word piece.

Translated by: Agata Pyzik

Walid, Dihya’s Child (2018)

The character in these images is the descendant of the amazing warrior Dihya. However, this modern-day fighter has a modern-day battle ahead of them: identity. This person is not sure who they are and, as a result, not sure how to express themselves. This project aims to shine light on the connection between identity and expression through clothes that seemingly contrast: from the masculine to the feminine and from the western to the traditional. As the viewer is submerged in this identity struggle, they question their understanding of the modern queer body and their perception of globalisation.

Photographs taken by: Nawel Baya

Walid, Stripped (2019)

These photos aim to strip the Tunisian queer identity to its bare minimum. The lack of accessories and props puts all of the focus on the queer body and its movements. This body is free and peaceful; the photos are unapologetic yet controlled, down to earth yet leaning towards fantasy. “I realised that nothing is more representative of my ancestry and queer identity than to show myself in all of my simplicity. Representing my different identities through my art has never felt better. Mostly because this representation is, for the first time, implicit.”

Festival Programme: Walid will give a talk, “Fear: Being an Artivist in Tunisia,” on June 25th (6PM EEST) on TQAF’s Facebook

Despina Markaki, SuperFab (2019-2020)

This is SuperFab! He’s the superhero of every creature in the world, happy, proud and of course, fabulous. His superpower is that he doesn’t even bother to care when someone attacks, diminishes or judges him. He keeps walking and letting his fabulousness shine upon his enemies. SuperFab is the friend who inspires us to turn to anyone that wrongs us by simply saying … “go fab yourself!” 

Nothing human is alien to me
“I am a normal person and I want to be honest with everybody the way I am when I am alone with Him and the Sea. I want to take his hand or embrace him when I am overwhelmed with emotion; I want to introduce myself as his husband and not his brother or friend; I want to stop telling stories about a girlfriend that doesn’t exist; I want to escape the fear that I would lose my job; I simply want to be happy like any other human.”

You think this is about sexual characteristics?
“It is not. Because we choose, first and foremost, a person. The soul isn’t of any sex, and I consider the soul to be the most important thing. I cannot be with someone just because of their attractive body — I need to be attracted to their personality. For this reason, there is no difference for me when it comes to choosing my partner, I don’t care if it is a man or a woman.”

 I refuse to live like this
“Spitting, humiliation and abuse from those whose duty it is to protect human rights; broken bones, constant tears, nights spent in the streets due to conflicts with those who are supposed to be closest to you; permanent ‘correction’ by religion, threats to lock me up in a mental hospital — this is what forces me to remain silent.”

I won’t be ashamed to murder a gay
“That’s what my older brother said, holding me out of the eighth floor window. I knew about his homophobia so I was trying to keep it all secret. But when my brother got hold of my private correspondence, his fears were confirmed. Due to the never-ending threats and beating, I left home on the verge of suicide. Were it not for the support of my loved one, this story would have died with me.”

Society has made me secretive
“Everyday, I am forced to play heterosexual roles to avoid homophobia. I try to make a joke when people ask me “Who do you prefer?” I have to hide my bisexual nature all the time. We are not actors and life is not a play where we have to learn new parts every day.”

Carolina Dutca, No Silence (2016)

In Transnistria, sexual orientations that defy the norm are often silenced, as are the physical attacks that occur on members of the LGBTQ+ community. Carolina Dutca is trying to break this taboo through a photographic series about people dealing with an internal struggle between their very nature and the expectations of their society; a struggle to find their place and identity in a world that is not ready to accept them just yet. Using film photography, the author ‘develops’ people who are invisible to the state and society. In Transnistria, where Carolina is from, the exhibition sparked a great deal of discussion after it had to be canceled due to pressure from the local KGB.

We need to be with someone who makes us happy
“During the long years of being married to a man, I managed to find my true self. I realised that I was under the influence of stereotypes enforced by society while I was really attracted to women only. When She appeared in my life, I finally felt that I had a meaningful relationship. We didn’t have to play roles anymore: you — a man, me — a woman. I could simply be myself.”

Those who truly love will always understand
“When he called me that night, I didn’t understand from the beginning how serious it was. His despair was endless. He walked 20 kilometres in the dark of the night trying to escape from those closest to him who failed to understand him and abused him. From that moment, I’ve been trying to protect him from all dangers which could be brought on him by those who surround him.”

We need to be with someone who makes us happy
“During the long years of being married to a man, I managed to find my true self. I realised that I was under the influence of stereotypes enforced by society while I was really attracted to women only. When She appeared in my life, I finally felt that I had a meaningful relationship. We didn’t have to play roles anymore: you — a man, me — a woman. I could simply be myself.”

James Knott, Under Construction (2020) 

Under Construction explores the notion of “constructed realities,” particularly from a queer perspective, with the use of absurdity and camp theatrics as a queer coping mechanism. This project accepts unfortunate realities, transmuting negative experiences through building subverted realities by arranging and re-arranging blocks into new architectural formations, creating new sets, props, and environments from which to inhabit; before deconstructing and reconstructing anew.