Workshop by Taka Taka: Dragging Warmly

The Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art (LCCA) introduces the public programme of the exhibition All's Good Between Us with the workshop Mothers Mothering Mothers: Dragging Warmly by drag culture activist, educator, queer theorist, and independent curator Taka Taka on February 16 at 18.00 at Dzirnavu Street 60A-21.

The exhibition and its public programme addresses the discourse of gender and queerness – it invites us to think beyond the idea of identity as something permanent and stable, confronts stigma and fear of otherness, and invites to be aware of the cracks between identities, minorities and different generations.

About the artist

Panagiotis Panagiotakopoulos (GR), a.k.a Taka Taka, is the art director of "Club ChUrch" the godmother of the drag "House of Hopelezz", sister for others, mother of the drag king "House of Løstbois", proud daughter of Jennifer Hopelezz and co-founder of the non-profit "Drag King Academy Amsterdam".

Taka Taka identifies as a dragtivist, educator, queer theorist and independent curator who produces performances as art director for the Amsterdam's sex positive underground night club "ChUrch" since 2013. They were trained as professional make-up artist, studied Fine Arts at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie followed by Master in Arts at the Dutch Art Institute. Currently researching drag mothering as an artistic educational model together with DAS graduate school.

Taka Taka sees drag as an amplified voice, whose purpose is to communicate, problematize and propose methods according to local conditions. They have shared their knowledge and methodologies for drag mothering, gendered character based practices and its intersections with HIV through interviews, lectures, essays and workshops with various Dutch and International art institutions and art academies.

They collaborated annually with SOA/AIDS Nederland, Global Aids Village and more. As well with their biological mother Dimitra Panagiotakopoulou who is living in the Greek village Saravali and designing and knitting entire outfits for Taka's lectures and performances.

Taka Taka about the workshop

The aim of this workshop is to reveal the act of dressing/undressing and masking/unmasking as an undeniable personal and social engagement by having fun while understanding one’s impact, the realities of character and their production from fingernail to toenail. I will present performative exercises exploring character creation with tools which I have developed from my camp-dragtivist educational practice.

These tools are for our group's gaze and organs, no for photographic representation.

I will also share anecdotes about my experience of being drag mothered by Jennifer Hopelezz and mothering my drag kids as a para-family constellation of mutual empowerment.

Let's reorganize ourselves as a warmer individual and softer social interconnected entity!

How can we relate to certain parts/subjects of the society, in order to channel and experience the power and responsibility of getting attention through our altered public "dragged" image?

Focusing on subject categories:

• Mask-makeup for facial reorganization

• Costuming for bodily reorganization

• Urges/desires/needs for character reorganization

• Stage presence’s social impact

By using tools developed through:

• Exercises merging queer performance elements and somatic practices, acting as experimental starting points

• Costume and props collection emphasizing visual and body-object interaction over appearance

• Intensive readings from liberatory literature

*Make-up will be provided, but feel free to bring garments, wigs, or whatever else you want to play with. Having a small personal mirror would be handy.

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