Pride week is painting Luxembourg in rainbow colours. This weekend, the big parade takes place in Esch and loads of concerts are planned. And last weekend already, the Queer Arts Festival took place in the Batiment 4 in Esch. We took the microphone to check out for you what Queer culture offers.
Since our last visit in Batiment4, a lot has changed. Outside behind the building, the volunteers and artists implied in the new cultural centre have built a stage made of wood and a terrace with cozy places. A few rows of chairs have been added for the Queer Arts Festival and the sun welcomes queer artists with all its energy. On stage, the German singer, songwriter and harpist Matthes Löw just finished his concert. After the show, he took a minute to answer our questions. “There’s not that much queer material in the world, we don’t have that much spokespersons or media, and in music, it really sucks. We have to speak up and with music, this is an easy way for me. My songs are about queer love, unfulfilled gay love, sexism, paranoia, or maybe just about my family and friends.”
The Queer arts festival presents all kinds of arts. Diverse concerts outside on stage, visual arts inside in Batiment4. In the hallway, we meet Nicolas van Elsue, a board member of the NGO Rosa Letzebuerg that organizes the Pride week . He explains us what queer art is all about: “Queer arts is quite niche. Its not something that you find on expositions. And queer arts is very provocative. Many people go through very tough periods in their live and those difficulties inspire people to produce art, explaining their pain and struggles, it helps people who are going through certain phases, they can find themselves and learn more on what other people are struggling with. It is important to have separate spaces as well, for queer arts. 10-20 years ago queeer culture was more open than it is now. Now it is more blended in with community but we some things just don’t fit in with the heteronormative expositions that you would find. It is important to show that this is also arts, this is us, this is what everyone encounters in their live.”
The walls in two rooms of Batiment 4 show portraits of queer people. And on the first floor, German artist Stephan Baglikow, aka Lana del Gay, holds a presentation about what he calls Polittunte. The German word Tunte means Queen or Fairy, Faggot, and he considers himself as a political one. “My talk was about the Polittunte, it’s a figure of the political emancipation movement of the 70s in Germany, and I analyse the tools the Polittunte uses in her fight for equality, for queer acceptance and pride. It’s always important to educate about your own tools, to empower them to use them. Giving the knowledge of queer communities to the next generation. I hope that many of them are empowered after my talk and maybe inspired to channel their inner Tunte themselves.”
On the ground floor of Batiment4, a small book fair presents literature about queer love or written by queer people. The municipal library in Esch presents their collection of books about gay and transgender people. For years, they have been developing their collection on queer literature, for adults and children. Next to the library’s stand, French writer Dominique Faure presents her newest novel “Frédéric – Instants de Grace” that talks about a man who was raped as a teenager and struggled a lot in life until he found hope in the love to another man. Some music sounds into the halls of Batiment4. The last concert for today has started and we grab a drink and a seat to listen to the Luxembourgish singer George Philippart who is on stage performing his song “Si j’étais président”.
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