Quinsy Gario (b. 1984, Curaçao St. maarten) is a visual and performance artist. His work centers ondecolonialism, remembering and unsettling institutional and interpersonal normalization of colonial practices. Most of his performance work is based on poetry improvisation. His most well-known work, “Zwarte Piet is Racisme” (“Black Pete is Racism”), investigated the general understanding of the racist Dutch figure and practice of Zwarte Piet. A graduate of the Master Artistic Research at the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague, he has a background in Media Studies, Gender Studies, and Postcolonial Studies. He won the Royal Academy Master Thesis Prize 2017, the Black Excellence Award 2016, the Amsterdam Fringe Festival Silver Award 2015, the Issue Award 2014, the Community Pearl Award 2014, the Hollandse Nieuwe 12 Theatermakers Prize 2011, and was a finalist in the 2011 Dutch National Poetry Slam Championship. He is a 2017/2018 BAK fellow and a Humanity in Action Senior Fellow.
I came to the residency with the proposal to look at the way in which poetry was part of the fabric of everyday life in Tehran and Iran. While this proposal would simultaneously lead me to the icons of world poetry, it also left the possibility open to think about poetry as everyday dissonance. During the residency, I looked at the grammar of habits and the definition of “normal,” while also acknowledging the limitations that my lack of knowing Farsi would impose on my understanding of how life in Iran is organized. I wanted to explore the possibility of challenging our routines and what happens when we see them as repeated actions that give us agency to rearrange our environment through the fact that we are the ones that repeat them. This led me to focus on the experience of historic architecture and stained glass windows and think about local produce and our ecological footprint, wondering about the sounds of words and the visuals that we usually ascribe to. The residency allowed me to further investigate the forms translating observations and researches into performances and installations that would explore the dissonance of what is deemed normal.