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QueeЯevolutions (screening + discussion) in Birmingham
24.Februar 2022 18:00
During the LGBT History Month UK, Berlin based Lebanese multidisciplinary performer and social artist Ahmad BaBa will present a plethora of his bodies of work in collaboration with SHOUT Festival and Midlands Arts Centre. His work focuses on claiming more visibility for underrepresented communities such as the LGBT+ refugee community in Berlin, and creating dance/storytelling projects.
QueeЯevolutions is a short film by Ahmad BaBa that rethinks queerness as a colonising tool, shaped by its Western, mainstream vision. Ahmad investigates often misinterpreted queer identities from the SWANA region (South-West Asia and North Africa), disrupting the notion of singular and one-dimensional queerness. It´s about questions like: When do we get a chance to investigate and express our queerness in our own way? How can we develop a language to speak about our complex identities? Why do we identify with a supposed „Pride“ that we haven’t achieved ourselves? These and other questions were raised by the participating artists, who each seek in different ways within their practices to revolt against the normalising process of a one-dimensional „queerness“, looking for ways to express, explore, and share unheard voices and unknown histories, and who come together in struggle.
The project took place as a series of collective workshops „for us by us“ with a wide range of artists presenting themselves on their own terms. Able to represent themselves outside the white gaze, the artists approached the experimental space of the project as a laboratory for sharing and reflecting on their experiences and ideas and as an occasion to develop collaborations with other QBIPOC individuals.
→ The event is free of charge, but registration is required.
About Ahmad BaBa
Ahmad BaBa is a Lebanese visual and performance artist based in Berlin. His work is rooted in critical interdisciplinarity and anti-oppressive practices. With a performing arts background and currently working towards his MA in Dance and Movement Therapy, Ahmad focuses on developing embodied arts and therapeutic processes. As conventional pedagogies around body work reproduce systemic oppression in institutions, he works against viewing the effect of oppression as political mediums and complexities that fall outside of the “norm”. Ahmad's practice works to centralise lived experiences as the core element for collective transformations through approaches based on a " by us, for us” framework, the rewriting of bodies' stories through dance, and redefining trauma-related oppression(s). Some of his previous projects and workshops include “Manuscripts of Foreign Body(s)”, “Deconstructing Aesthetics of Embodiment” and “ QueeЯevolutions”. His visual performances approach identity from a critical and collective archivist perspective that revolve around understanding Queerness in relation to the multilayered Arab*Muslim identity(s). This has shown through in his work “ Ilk علق“, which is an investigation into how queerness has become a form of colonialism, erasing and homogenising many identities and ways of being that don’t necessarily fit under "Queer" as an umbrella term."
About Mansur Ajang
Mansur Ajang, Ahmad's assistant director, is a performer, director and coach working with marginalised communities in Berlin. One focus of his work is theatre productions with long-term unemployed people that unleash the potential of people in social and economic circumstances through artistic creativity. He was trained at the Elisabethbühne of the Schauspielhaus in Salzburg. First engagements followed at the Theatre of the Young World in Leipzig, Staatstheater Darmstadt and Ballhaus Ost Berlin. He is a member of the ensemble of the Magdeburg Theatre since 2022. Ilk is his second production with the performance artist Ahmad BaBa.
About the residency
Ahmad BaBa is setting a ground for investigating identities on the level of bodies. The 10-day residency, as part of SHOUT festival’s programme for LGBT History Month in collaboration with Midlands Arts Centre, will combine the dual disciplines that Ahmad is engaged in: performing arts and dance therapy. His work focuses on claiming more visibility for underrepresented communities such as the LGBT+ refugee community in Berlin, and creating dance/storytelling projects.
Ahmad BaBa’s residency with SHOUT Festival & Midlands Arts Centre (MAC) is part of the the ongoing research, exhibition and performance project "Embodied Temporalities - tracing the memories our bodies hold" by Oyoun cultural centre (Berlin, GER).
What memories do our bodies hold? What can our bodies tell us about ourselves, pasts, and futures? Through Embodied Temporalities – Tracing the memories our bodies hold, cultural practitioners explore identities, belonging and embodied memories through diasporic, decolonial and queer perspectives. It offers a community-centred approach for participants finding expression of experiences through movement while paving the way for collective healing. Embodied Temporalities is a research, archiving, exhibition and performance project under the artistic direction of Madhumita Nandi.
Artistic-Director: Madhumita Nandi // Instagram
This international collaboration is made possible by Perform Europe. Perform Europe is an EU-funded project aiming to rethink how performing arts works are presented across borders in a more inclusive, sustainable and balanced way by testing new touring and distribution practices and providing policy recommendations for a future EU support scheme. This 18-month journey includes a research phase, launching a digital platform, testing a support scheme, and designing policy recommendations.
Perform Europe is funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union and co-managed by a Consortium of 5 organisations: IETM – International network for contemporary performing arts, the European Festivals Association (EFA), Circostrada, EDN – European Dancehouse Network, and IDEA Consult.