Queer Migrant Takeover: Deeper Routes

6 October @ Rich Mix, London

QMT started in late 2017 as a response to a climate of hostility in the UK towards migrants, and it has developed quite into an organic and shifting/adapting concept, just like the people that populate it, work on it and help shape it. It is primarily a space for celebration of co-existence and resistance against physical, personal and cultural borders. 

Curatorially speaking, we invite artists who are working with notions of belonging, personal and cultural heritage and/or culture-specific aesthetics and concepts. This is the primary influence on how we compose our line-ups, commissioning offers and how we run our spaces.

Deeper Routes, which took place at Rich Mix on Saturday 6 October, started with a performance by SPIT! – Sodomites, Perverts, Inverts Together! in collaboration with activists Lesbians & Gays Support The Migrants, which explored historical queer manifestos and called for a reclamation of the nuances of faggotry.

This kickstarted an afternoon of new performances by the Istanbul Queer Arts Collective (Turkey) and video exhibitions by Katarzyna Perlak (Poland), Jonas Hong Soo Eriksson ft Nadia Tehran (Sweden/Iran), They Are Here (UK) and Ishimwa Muhimanyi (Rwanda), all featuring various collaborations with migrants and refugees. The selection of videos was curated in collaboration with Harun Morrison from They Are Here.

In the main space, curator Joon Lyn Goh lead the open discussion Migration, Sexuality and Refuge in the UK – An Intergenerational Dialogue. This was a space filled with some special guests including Shahmir Sanni (the ‘Brexit whistle-blower’), Lesbians and Gays Support The Migrants, poet and DJ Carlos Maurizio Rojas (UK/Colombia), as well as individuals seeking refuge Thiru Seelan (Sri Lankan dance therapist) and Kinsi Abdulleh (Numbi).

A big part of our ethos is the creation of community spaces within arts spaces, where everyone comes together, or at least has the space facilitated in a way that allows it. So we served free home-made dinner – mainly a vegan take on Portuguese Caldo Verde soup and Mousaka, which resulted in an space filled with guests, audiences, artists and activists all bonding and talking about the future, meeting and provoking each other. Like a community of strangers who found common ground through food, art and conversation. – Xavier de Sousa

After dinner, SPIT kicked off the evening with a performance of their FAGGOT Manifesto, followed by DJ sets by DJ Neiva (latinx music) and the all-conquering Pxssy Palace (Afropunk, Hip-Hop, R&B) who alongside their set also created a safe space, The Sanctuary, in our Studio 2, where people of colour had access to a safe environment free of alcohol and could hang out into the evening away from the madness of the dancefloor.

The event went on till the early hours and included performances by some of the best local migrant acts including Whiskey Chow (China), Sebastian H-W (UK/Mexico), CHIYO (Portugal), Izdehar Afyouni (Palestine/Georgia) and compered by Cocoa Butter Club sensation Sadie Sings.

Categories: Report

Date Posted: 21 November 2018