June is Pride month, an opportunity for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ+) community to celebrate their existence and highlight their long fight for equal rights.=
One of the most anticipated events in London during Pride is Transpose. This incredible show started in 2011 and encompasses a wide range of performing arts including music, dance, audio-visuals, and spoken word.
This year’s event is called Transpose BURN Pit Party, with four performances taking place at the Barbican that will feature “explosive performances from artists including anarchist poet Kell w Farshéa, DJ Ifeoluwa and subversive drag artist i-Gemini.”
There is an international dimension to this year’s show, after curator Dani Dinger extended an invitation to Turkish trans artists, enabling four prominent Turkish personalities to join the Transpose 2023 line-up: Erkan Affan, Akış Ka, Mustafa Kınalı (aka Kika) and Kübra Uzun.
London-born Erkan Affan is a researcher, writer, curator and audio-visual artist, and a co-founder of the epic Queer Arab Barty in Berlin. His family roots are from Hatay and Mardin in Turkiye, and he has penned a heartfelt response to events in his ethnic homeland following the devastating earthquake that struck in February.
Kübra Uzun is a singer, LGBTI+ activist, and resident DJ at Sahika Upperground. Kübra runs their own queer performance night and party Disko Tarantello in the heart of Istanbul. Together with Mx. Sür, they produced the anthemic ALAN2020, where Kübra raps about equal rights and freedoms, including the right to love who we want.
Akış Ka is a queer rights activist and multi-disciplinary performance artist whose repertoire includes singing, acting. The talented entertainer’s drag act has attracted a legion of fans. In a recent interview with Dalston Superstore, Akış Ka said:
“I made my first costume out of a water pipe. As they say, water finds its way. Just like water, I flow and find my own path each time. In fact, I started doing drag for activism, to create visibility, to celebrate transgender existence, and to live and share my fluidity. I am like an insect or maybe a monster navigating between the walls of binary gender, a wanderer without a place, and thanks to you, timeless…”
Making up the talented quartet is Mustafa Kınalı: an actor, drag performer, makeup artist, designer and DJ. Kınalı recently starred as their alter ego Kika in Free Fun, a short sci-fi comedy movie written and directed by Turkish Cypriot filmmaker Fehmi Öztürk.
Kınalı told Dalston Superstore they had recently become “obsessed with belly dance: “its rhythm, fluidity, movement, costumes and history”. The result is Kınalı’s adaptation of a feminine dance form that showcases their masculinity at the same time.
Alongside the incredible artistic performances that form Transpose Burn, the show also helps to “explore the building blocks of a shared culture, trans identities and offers a direct challenge to the status quo.”
Its founder, artistic director and researcher CN Lester has spent over a decade celebrating, promoting, and platforming the wide-ranging talents of the UK trans community. CN describes Transpose as a space in which “we can show you our vulnerabilities, our strengths, and – most of all – our authenticity.”
Title: Transpose BURN: Pit Party CN Lester
Dates: Thursday 15 to Saturday 17 June 2023
Venue: Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS
Doors: Thursday and Friday – 7.45 pm; Saturday – 2.30 pm and 7.45 pm
Running time: 2 hours, including an interval
Admission: Age guidance: 16+
All shows are relaxed and audio described with integrated BSL, and there is a BSL-interpreted and captioned performance and post-show talk on Friday 16 June.
Tickets: Standard tickets are £18 (+ £1.50 booking fee). Click here to buy from the venue.