Meet the Artist: Perry Gits
Award-winning theatre maker and performance artist Perry Gits will be our curator for the 3rd edition Pornfilmnight: The Non-Heteronormative Edition, on the 1st of December. This time with a special focus on intersectionality and non-Western narratives. We were curious what drives Perry, so we gave him a call.
Hello Perry! Could you tell something about yourself?
I am a very stubborn person. I was born and raised in Amsterdam Zuidoost (South-East). South-East really made me the person I am today. I felt really at home because people looked like me, and all my family and friends live there. On the other side, I was very different because I always did what I wanted to do. So I didn’t always fit in. That made me the authentic performer that I’m today. I always follow my own guts and interests. With everything I do I try to listen to myself first.
Who and what inspires you?
Life. People. For example, when I make a dance piece, I look at people’s movements on the street. I look at animals. I interview people to know what is going on in life. Everything that I create and do goes through people, goes through time so that people can relate to what I create. Of course, it has my own signature to it but I still want people to be able to relate to my work. Most of the time I try to put something in my work so that everyone can recognize themselves. Some people might call it abstract and some people don’t get it.
Would you say representation is important in your work?
Yes, I think that is very important. I noticed when I was little, I used to always go to musical theatre, but I never saw myself. One time, I was in Carré I saw two black performers. I thought oh my god they look like me. That feeling was so great. That is also what I want to do, represent people who look like me and you. A representation that is not only based on color, but is more intersectional. Also the way a person moves, talks and their background. Of course, color is part of a representation, but color doesn’t always mean representation. You cannot think black and white because it is not that simple.
You recently won the Gouden Krekel (an annual award for performance arts) How does it feel to receive an award so early in your career. Do you feel that it made a difference?
I am very thankful that I got the award because the award was based on my name, my own work and not on the work that I performed for someone else or that I felt like other people pushed me to do. I was really happy that I was awarded based on what I wanted to do. It really motivated me to keep on doing what I am doing.
Did it made you feel recognized as an artist and person?
Yes, because this is a very prestigious award in the Netherlands. I don’t know if they do it on purpose. But most of the time you have to act as a stereotypical character. If you ask me to do that, I will go the opposite way. I thought they would go for the stereotypical theatre maker, but they didn’t. And I thought kudos to y’all. Ha-ha!
Your work touches upon decolonizing of blackness and celebration of gender. Do you feel like things have changed within these subjects in the last years?
People still want to talk about black pain and black issues, and all those troubles. I am not in pain every fucking day. I’m not saying let’s not talk about that, but let’s not only priorities those topics or push it on black artists just because they are black. I am a fucking human being. I look good. I smell good. I love to get cocky. Some people always want to portray certain stereotypical images on us. I prefer to choose my own topics. I am really interested in different things of life. That’s why I’m really excited about Pornfilmnight. It is a whole different layer. It is not again about black pain, but it is about joy and pleasure. It’s about finding out who you are. When it comes to sex in relation to blackness it is often fetishized. So I am very happy to get the chance to be me and choose my ow topics for the Pornfilmnight curation. There are artist that choose different kind of topics. Like Cherish Menzo. She is one of my biggest inspirations because she always does what she wants.
You are curating the third edition of Pornfilmnight. Does porn and eroticism play a theme within your own work?
I am part of the ballroom scene. I always walk ‘sex siren’ that is a category where your body, sex appeal and sensuality is being judged. So, I have always had an interest in sexuality and being sensual. Curating Pornfilmnight really came at the right time. I am also getting more comfortable in my own skin. I feel beautiful. Of course, I am still insecure about some things of my body or when I am on stage and have to present a sex appeal. But I accept my insecurities and turn it around. This theme is really a big part of me.
Any advice for the teenage version of yourself?
I will tell young Perry that he has to keep on going. Keep on believing in yourself. Keep on hustling. It doesn’t matter if everyone is doing something else, or questions you to make more work. You don’t have to do what they are doing. Listen to your own heart. And I will also tell my young Perry to rest. Sometimes I really went into a workaholic mode. Sometimes you need to rest, to calm down, breathe and then go on. The biggest lesson I tell myself is to keep on going but also don’t follow the pressure of others.
Get your tickets for Pornfilmnight here.
Or click here to follow Perry Gits on Instagram.