Review: Performing Borders

Contact Theatre, Manchester

Performing Borders | LIVE is a programme of events and new commissions that focuses on the exploration of artistic practices around notions of cultural, juridical, racial, gendered, class, physical and every day borders. As part of Queer Contact, they brought together Nima Séne and Tuna Edrem to discuss their experiences of otherness related to their queer, migrant and PoC identities shape their work.

Tuna Ederem, who lead the conversation, is a London based artist, curator and performer originally from Istanbul, where she founded Istanbul Queer Collective. She started the conversation by sharing some previous work that started with a piece focusing around her feeling towards Istanbul Pride, which was shut down several years ago. Her art has involved hammering 50,000 nails across 12 hours to represent the many people who attend pride each year and Henna tattooing a drag queen’s behind after being asked to make art around her persecution.

Tuna was in conversation with Nima Séne, who is Afro German and whose art is rooted in uncovering complexity and parody within stereotypes and mainstream media portrayals of cultural identity. Nima presented their character Beige B*tch through a number of clips and explained that the character could be considered as an almost drag persona or way of expressing and reacting to the way the world portrays cultural identity. The character is exaggerated and not afraid to react without fear of consequence. Nima is also involved into looking into their own identity and asking questions, particularly about the notion of being black in Europe and outside of America. Interestingly, they also works closely with artists to redirect their creations to correlate with her messaging. A great example of this was a piece Nima did about how adverts of Africa always involve flies, collaborating with a friend who does a fly themed pole dance.

The conversation was interesting and challenging, and it was exciting to see two artists who were able to challenge difficult topics and find creative ways of expressing them through queer art. It would have been great to see more back and forth between the two as I was interested to see the different ways they could engage with one another. It’s well worth having a google and exploring both of their work and raising these voices further.

© M. Holland 2019

This event has now closed.

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