Dear friends, our third Smoqua has finished! We’ve left behind so many preparations, joy and bustle, emergencies and “OMG, I have completely forgotten about this, I`ll get to it right now!, No, leave it, I`ll do it, you go for the other things!” :) Here is our story – a brief resume on what happened during these 3 unforgettable days... :)
Above all, we`d like to thank everyone that made this Smoqua such a wonderful experience, that contributed with their positivity and joy to the filling of community, solidarity and great values: the audience from Rijeka, Croatia and other countries; to our great participants for stimulating deconstructing among everyone; to our associates for sharing the vision of Rijeka with us for 3 years: PaRiter, From the Citizens to Their City and Centre for Women’s Studies (University of Rijeka), Art-kino, Rijeka 2020. Of course, without our sponsors ADRIA PRINT (with us from the very idea of Smoqua) and Novi list we would not have the visibility in public while LUSH has enabled it all on recycled and biodegradable materials. Food Not Bombs Rijeka together with our volunteers has kept the smiles on our participants` faces with their vegan delicacies. Still, we feel that no one will get angry if we say that the biggest support, the efforts, the dedication, love and commitment has put in our volunteering crew that has been a true “glue” that kept everything together! :) Thank you all: Silvana, Ivana, Josipa, Marta, Sara, Deborah, Ivana, Gabriela, Nathan, Katarina, Tea, Karla, Filip… with this crew we can achieve everything! :)
Of course, we thank the City of Rijeka for their support: for the second year in a row during Smoqua four rainbow flags were put along Korzo street and mayor Obersnel has given a warm, supporting speech at the festival opening.
And what actually happened at Smoqua in these 3 days? Well, after summarizing first impressions we can say openly that this has been the most successful and the most enriching Smoqua so far: we`ve had the opportunity to experience few premieres (touching documentary „Sidney & friends“ and its director that has “conquered” all our hearts with his smile and the moving story of intersex and transgender kids in Kenya, drag king Eclipse kthat ignited the crowd at Queer-UP! Party along with the awesome Slovenian DJ duo Warrego Valles, Lau Lukkarila dance performance…), Rijeka has gotten its first queer mural (thank you Nika, Tanja, Luisa for designing and creating it in such a short period of time!:))…
Performance of Bulgarian artist with the US address Boryana RossaDeconstruction of VALIE EXPORT’S Tap and Touch Cinema has left rather strong impressions to all while Vlasta Delimar has definitely “shook” Korzo with her performance. We thank Moja Rijeka for great video reportages.
Unfortunately, we`ve had a last-minute bad luck: due to a sudden illness a panel speaker and several international volunteers have cancelled, along with the artist for the workshop of dance and movement. Still, how we`ve established numerous collaborations in LORI`s 19 years of work, we`ve overcome that too: awesome women from Rijeka Jasminka Juretić (psychologist) and Esta Matković (artist) `stepped in`, volunteers have set to the cooking… All in all, together we can do anything. :)
We might recount what happened to us, what impressions appeared, how the audience responded to some activity for two days, but briefly: our hearts are full of delight because one could feel at Smoqua a very positive energy that was spread by truly wonderful people gathered around the same idea, spending three days chilling out and rethinking queer and feminism - new acquaintances, collaborations, ideas for some new projects have been `born`, which is certainly the aim of Smoqua.
And how did the visitors feel Smoqua? Here you can read few statements of our guests:
Tadeja Pirih (Slovenia)
Tadeja Pirih (Ljubljana), a member of Collective Rdeče zore (Red Dawns) and of Lezbično feministična univerza (Lesbian Feminist University). This is my first time at Smoqua even though there ws a desire to come here before. I am very happy to be here; it is good that Rijeka is so near. I am looking forward to experiencing Day 3 activities (I just arrived on Day 2) but today`s talk and the performance (Boryana Rossa) were great. I find it very important to point out the importance of marginalized topics and that Boryana is wonderful and each festival should include her in the programme :) I also think that it is of a great importance to represent contents of this type because even within feminist and queer scene (though I cannot say about the situation in Croatia as I do not know it) they are the `alternative` and not the mainstream. I am happy to be here!
Maja Šučur (Slovenia)
I am Maja Šučur (Ljubljana), a former member of Collective Rdeče zore (Red Dawns) and a journalist of a newspapers DnevnikThis is my first time at Smoqua after wanting to come here for several years. A whole group (5-7 persons) was supposed to come here and eventually 2 of us actually did. Maybe next year we`ll be 5, after that 7… Anyhow, I am delighted here. First, I was at a talk (Boryana Rossa and Zvonimir Dobrović) that was exceptionally clear and precise, has encompassed a large number of different perspectives on the identities we are interested in, while not resorting to abstraction, which I find extremely valuable. After that we had really the best thing about festivals besides art: the possibility of networking or connecting different collectives. We have already defined the prospect of cooperation for the next three years, in the form of a Balkan tour of various artists on the routes of Skopje, Ljubljana, Zagreb and Rijeka, to exchange experiences. There was a laughter, but that is how good projects start and I count that by the end of the festival for the next two days there will be even more collaborations.
Anna and Arnold (Holland)
We are coming from Leeuwarden and we both work in the field of anti-discrimination and LGBT rights.
Arnold: `When I saw the invitation for Smoqua I thought I must see the festival. We both are members of Leeuwarden pink Saturday and we want to find some people who are interested in the program of Leeuwarden pink Saturday. `
Anna: `Leeuwarden pink Saturday is a big national event about LGBT rights and LGBT celebration in our city next year and we hope to find some people or some inspiration for our program.
About the festival so far, I enjoyed the talk of Urszula Kuczynska talking about family rights in Poland and she was very inspiring about activating people to stand up for their position. It showed me that Poland has a lot to fight for and it is very important to fight for the stuff. `
Arnold: `The mayor (of Rijeka, Vojko Obersnel) was very inspiring when he said ‘in my city’, he stood there and made a statement. `
Dunia: `I am an activist from Russia who currently lives in Vienna. I was impressed by the government that is so open to host this kind of event and talk about intersexuality and inclusion, which I think it is very rare luck nowadays especially.
I was also impressed by the feminist organization within the city and little signs when you are walking around, you can feel that it was really prepared, making a statement about this kind of event and about our position on certain topics, and I think is great this feeling of a community. `
Luka Kristić & Tomislav Čop (Slovenia & Croatia)
Luka Kristić: `I come from Maribor, the organisation ‘Maribor skozi rožnata očala’ that organises this year 1st Pride in Maribor. We find it very important to discuss LGBT topics in the public. It is very commendable that LORI for 18 years bravely works, you have all the support from Maribor. I have come to these workshops and a rich programme rather cheerful. The visibility matters, it was gorgeous to walk through Rijeka and see 4 rainbow flags, it makes me happy that you have such a support from the local government and that Rijeka actually lives as a Port of Diversity. `
Tomislav Čop: `I am a member of LGBTI + organisation ‘Druga Rijeka’. I am happy to give my support for 3rd year to the whole initiative of this queer (and feminist) festival and all the compliments to the women for organising all that. I am very glad to see that the festival has taken on a more `serious` note, there are a lot of guests from other EU countries. I hope that as many people have enjoyed these activities and that the festival will go even more ambitious and more visible in the coming years. `
Tanja from Centre for girls Niš (Serbia)
Tanja: `I am a visitor of 3rd Smoqua in a row. I love to come here and I love the freedom that this city gives, how the diversity is being accepted, how we are all together or separately free in public spaces, in the street, in cafés… for that is something that you do not see in Serbia or somewhere else where I have been, it is the very first thing that impresses me about this city. Festival is growing and it is completely clear to me as I come from far. Though on the first year it was called queer and feminist culture, it was rather lesbian, while now it is completely both, more comprehensive, which I believe was the very idea and that development is visible from 1st to the 3rd festival edition. I am interested how it will go further; I am completely curious.
This year I was completely blown away by the performance of Boryana Rossa, by her talk, her attitude. She comes from Bulgaria that is so much closer to Serbia but I come here as here I have the possibility to see such an inspiring wonder woman :) Also, the documentary (Sidney & Friends) of Tristan Aitchison, who has shown compassion and call for solidarity regardless if it is about children in Africa – everything can be transferred to any country, any group of people. I know a person transitioning, struggling with the same problems: does not have ID, a job, nothing to eat… The overall festival impression to me is that we can do so much more for the changes. It is clear that the festival goes towards growth, including different segments and various people. There are more people from abroad while at the beginning more were from Croatia or Rijeka, a community is being build that is not just Rijeka but all of us. `
Marta, LORI volunteer
I study psychology and volunteer on Smoqua. We (volunteers) mainly help people about something, we cook, distribute leaflets and posters and all in all, our volunteers are everywhere, helping make Smoqua to be what it truly is. I enjoyed at Anna Calvi concert, Boryana`s performance left quite an impression at me, it was really interesting.
And finally, watch the video report of the drag king performances by Eclipse.
Photographs from Smoqua you can see here. We thank Gabriela Jozić, Sara Pavičić and Martina Šalov for beautiful photos of this year's festival.
Smoqua is financially supported by: Rijeka 2020 – European Capital of Culture / City of Rijeka / Primorje-Gorski Kotar County / Republic of Croatia, Ministry of Culture / European Commission / Musagetes / LUSH
Sponsored by: Adria print
Media sponsor: Novi list