An International Booking Agency Centering Queer and Fluid Identities (of Color) | Fair Pay | No One is Free Until We Are All Free | Safe(r) Spaces | BIPOC Queer Lives Matter | Manifesto: Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
Gentle Them is an international booking agency that centers queer and fluid identities, especially those of color. Our portfolio consists of a community of artists from multidisciplinary practice - ranging from music to performance to spoken word, photography, and fashion. Gentle Them is an activism based agency that stands up for the interests of the BIPOC queer community through conditions like fair pay, the guarantee of safe(r) spaces, and interventions like a ‘radical access plan’. No one is free until we are all free.
Read our manifesto: ‘Put Your Money
Where Your Mouth Is’.
Discover our artists and get in touch :
Anto López Espinosa (Madrid, 1993) graduated in Fine Arts from Goldsmiths University of London (2018) and moved to Amsterdam, where they graduated from the temporary masters program The Commoners' Society (2020) at Sandberg Instituut. As a performance maker and visual practitioner their work operate as a license to fracture the notion of the mundane in regard to the prevailing systems of representation. By focusing on spoken-word lips-syncs as a take on imagining and mapping down possible bodies, they make use of multiple voices to suggest a visual proposition of texts, placed at several times and spaces at once. In that way the self is conceived as an ecosystem of ongoing relational practices, as a celebration in which memories and futures erode each other, propagating a carnival of temporalities in the search of love and care for their own (and others) existence.
Anto Lopez Espinosa can be booked as a performer.
Clara Saito is a performance and visual artist based in Amsterdam. In her recent works she transitions between different characters, such as the drag king persona Kurt Dickriot, a rockstar in performance arts called Lady Dada and/or a dog called Diva amongst others. In each presentation, the personalities and moods of Saito's characters evolve as they are deeply connected to current events and the artists’ authentic experiences. Their entangled stories were theorized and brought closer together in an essay called Dissociative Performance - Anarchic Bodies and the Politics of Improvisation. Clara’s work, in combination with her life experiences, forms the base for her reflections on anarchism, practices of freedom and sustainable ways of living and creating. She graduated with her BA at SNDO (School for New Dance Development, NL) in 2014 and her MA at the Dutch Art Institute in 2019 (NL).
Clara Saito can be booked as a performer, teacher, dance maker, advisor, and visual artist.
At an early age Dean started using make-up as a way to explore and express his own gender. It provided an armor that helped him face the outside world and was a way to feel empowered in his own queerness. Nowadays it provides a chance to collaborate and build community with fellow (queer) artists. Dean’s aesthetic lives in the eccentric and fantastic, it is heavily inspired by drag and club kid culture. Other influences that can be found are Kabuki theatre and French pantomime. These forms of expression are known for exaggerating the features of the performer therefore causing a dramatic approach to beauty. In the past years Dean has collaborated with a fair amount of Amsterdam-based designers and performers. Some of his more recent clients include De Bijenkorf, Het Concertgebouw and Shimano.
Dean van Zanten can be booked as a hair and make up artist.
Dion Rosina creates work that is based on found images. The act of appropriating images arises from an impulse to respond to the existing visual culture. He sees his paintings as a domain with which he can merge and question diverse subjects such as immigration, repression, reality and alienation.Sampling and implementing the images in his paintings is a process in which the scope is sought of how the images can be translated. Within this work, he deals with various subjects that fluctuate between the supernatural, alienation, recognition, history, and the African diaspora. His work has a dream-like character that is not always fully definable which balances between the explicit and recognizable but also the abstract and the intangible. The figures in his work usually find themselves in situations that cannot be fully explained and in environments with a dream-like character, which oscillate between recognition and alienation.
Dion Rosina can be booked as a painter, tutor and public speaker.
Fitgirl a.k.a Fuji Rademaker has had a fascination for new media and technology for as long as he remembers. He decomposed his race cars when he was a kid. Later in life he composed and played electronic music with the aim of manipulating moods and atmospheres. As DJ Fitgirl he has played in underground as well as mainstream spaces known and loved in Europe like De Trut, Vrankrijk, ADM, Trouw, Awakenings, Tacheles, Ponderosa, Volkshotel and Complex to name a few. Next to that he has composed and made videos for artists like Nica Roses, Job Koelewijn and Katja Heitmann. Currently he is expanding his fascination for atmospheres and moods by creating happenings and rituals. By playing with light, music and movements participants are brought to an altered state. Fitgirl is also a political statement against body shaming and binary gender standards. In his practice he is keen on exposing them (in a playful manner).
Fitgirl can be booked as a DJ, filmmaker and creator of rituals and/ or happenings.
George Mazari is an Afghan-German artist who is born in Berlin and lives and works in Amsterdam. He studied at the Stuttgart State Academy of Fine Arts and at the Sandberg Instituut in Amsterdam, where he graduated from the Studio for Immediate Spaces. His work comes in a wide range of media, including video, sculpture, and installation. Pulling intuitively from personal experiences, family and world history, video games, and the Internet, he produces kaleidoscopic works that bring worlds together. In 2021, he exhibited A Real Trip from AMS to KBL, a real-time 8-hours flight from Amsterdam to Kabul using flight simulation software built into a first class seat to re-create a flight no airline is flying. More recently, POST (from) KABUL is a series of shipping crates containing video-objects and sculptures showing simulated flights, Kabul’s pigeon YouTube community and re-produced artifacts.
George Mazari can be booked as a visual artist.
Jozef Wright is a photographer and filmmaker based in Den Haag. His work is fashion/ editorial based and focuses on documenting the unique individualities of people around him. Often they are part of the LGBTQIA+ community. Jozef has always been inspired by surrealism as well as various mythologies. These themes are recurrent throughout his work combined with layers of fantasy. Much of his work is visualized with the specific theme of ‘Utopia’ in mind. His belief is that we can attain a world that celebrates variety, gender and sexuality, through true artistic expression and individuality. Currently Jozef is working on his first cinematic short film, BLACK JOY. Black Joy as a film aims to create a connection/documentation of common black experiences. The aim is that those watching can relate and see themselves represented. Jozef’s work is published in i-D Magazine, SICKY MAG and Harpers Bazaar NL. Clients include Uniqlo, Dr. Martens, MasterCard
Jozef Wright can be booked as a photographer, retoucher, videographer, content creator and creative director.
Lucciana is a Honduran/ Colombian mixed-media artist and poet who began autodidactic photography and videography in 2011. She is exploring themes like philosophy, metaphysics and social structures. Her work is juxtaposing film and poetry, photography, 3D work and artistic research. Lucciana collaborates with artist Ursula Marcussen on a frequent basis. They make performance and installation works that touch upon themes like the consolidation of self proclaimed strength. Lucciana’s experience as a queer, POC migrant living for 16 years in The Netherlands as well as the support of her friends and family are recurrent themes in her practice. As a videographer, she has worked alongside singer and performer BEA1991. Lucciana directed her first music video for musician Kourosh and continues with her first experimental short film featuring Patti Cramer. Furthermore Lucciana has worked on a broad range of fashion film, montage editing and live audio visual shows.
Lucciana Bolivar can be booked as a creative director, advisor, video editor and writer.
Mel Opti (MEL-ANIN) is a multidisciplinary filmmaker and director who is passionate about embracing and expressing human variety through the cinematic lens. Their films focus on underexposed issues regarding identity within the African Diaspora and the non-heteronormative society. As a director they focus on the personal experience of the actors or interviewees; trying to show their true colors for all that deserve to be seen. Their documentary ‘Just like Me’ featured fathers that had little or no contact with their children. Mel captured the children and their fathers and asked them to take care of each others hair. It resulted in an intimate portrait about family, cultural heritage and fatherhood (in the black community). Currently Mel is working on a documentary about rebirth and the role (chosen) family plays in the way we deal with celebrating our existence. Former and current clients include Stedelijk Museum, FOAM Museum, Eye Filmmuseum and Amsterdam Museum.
MEL- ANIN can be booked as a filmmaker, lecturer, public speaker, advisor and/ or visual artist.
Mala Badi was born in 1992 in Casablanca, Morocco. Mala is a transformative writer, conceptual artist, performer, organizer and public speaker. Their performances, poems and installations are a manifestation of their position on violence, collective trauma and separation. They aim to heal personally and collectively and to give space to grief, pain and vulnerability in order to get access to the dream of justice. Mala Badi is also the founder of Marokkuir Zawya: an organization that centralizes the Amazigh Queer Diaspora and involves art and academia to questions relating to justice and queer liberation. In 2022 their research and artworks focus on masculinity in relation to North African bodies. Mala is currently part of Ecologies of Transformation masters program in Sandburg Instituut, Amsterdam. Mala's Work was presented in the Netherlands and internationally in Munich, Leipzig, Tokyo, New York, Antwerp, Paris, Marseille, Tunisia and Morocco. They are currently based in Amsterdam.
Mala Badi can be booked as a writer, lecturer, public speaker, performer and conceptual artist.
Mamakil is a Queer writer, artist, community builder, dirty DJ, and member of the Sehaq Queer refugees group. Aiming to create safer spaces for marginalized communities in a western white-dominated queer scene.
Mamakil can be booked as a writer, artist, DJ, and community builder.
Marko Ivic (Maracaibo, Venezuela) is a pianist, physical performer and composer based in Amsterdam. His work fluctuates between music-making and an intuitive need for working with the body and images. He's moved by subjects such as identity, sexuality and the quest for belonging as part of the human existential nature. His musical language is inspired by minimalism and improvisation and is characterized by the use of live electronics and electro-acoustic setups. Marko has a particular interest in creating environments where music improvisation can support reflection and meditativeness. A practice he calls Reflective Music. A passion for performance arts and visuals has taken him to compose music for theatre, dance and film productions as well as to collaborate with directors like Espen Hjort and choreographers like Fernando Troya. Marko studied classical piano in Croatia and Live Electronic Studies at the Amsterdam Music Conservatory.
Marko Ivic can be booked as an all-round musician.
Mavi Veloso (Pacaembu, São Paulo, 1985) is a Brazilian transdisciplinairy visual performance artist, dancer, actress, singer and songwriter currently residing in Amsterdam. Mavi is a chameleon and likes to do trannycrafts, confusing, questioning, delighting and enlightening our minds while we dance. She integrates all her professional as well as personal expertise and experience in powerful stage performances combining pop with different styles like R&B, trap, hip hop, house and Brazilian rhythms such as tecnobrega, Brazilian funk and other kind of music styles. In her creative practice Mavi explores the relationship between artist and audience, transfeminism, decolonization, gender politics, sexual anxiety, survival, resistance, resilience and empowerment. Mavi completed a post-master in performance at A.PASS in Brussels, Belgium and completed a Master of Voice at the Sandberg Instituut in Amsterdam. In 2021 Mavi Veloso launched her visual music album called ‘Travesti Biólogica’ which is internationally celebrated.
Mavi Veloso can be booked as a performer, actress, singer and public speaker.
Max Heuvelman is a stylist and creative director who aims to create ‘the perfect world’, where is no room for boxes and labels. A world where we embrace variety, gender and sexuality. Max has experience in the fashion industry as a model, stylist, creative director and content creator (which brings a good understanding on a variety of knowledge and importance to create work). Max is now working on exploring other parts of the fashion industry to grow as an all around creative. He is currently doing research on new ways to implement eroticism and fetishism in his work, exploring it as a theme and as a personal outlet for himself. Clients and collaborators include David Laport, Numéro Netherlands and SICKY MAG.
Max Heuvelman can be booked as a stylist, creative director and content creator.
Stephanie Idongesit Ete was born in London, 1994 and is a British-Nigerian architect currently based in Amsterdam. Her work engages with the task of storytelling; utilizing the language of architecture, to explore, narrate and reveal the realities, challenges, and possibilities in the built environment as it relates to African and African diasporic spaces and places. Stephanie featured in RIBA’s Next Generation of Black Architects in 2018, and her master’s graduation project ‘The Calabar Sculpture Garden’ which explored themes of cultural heritage and decolonization of the museum space in Nigeria, was nominated for the AHK Eindwerkprijs 2021 and the Archiprix Nederland 2022.
Stephanie Idongesit Ete can be booked as an architectural designer, conceptual designer, consultant, writer and public speaker.
Studio BuyMyTalent is a graphic design studio based in Amsterdam and rooted in Taiwan. The studio has been founded in February 2021 by Goy Tung: ‘I can do graphic design all day long, first thing in the morning and last thing before I go to bed.’ Goy has a background in fashion as well as spatial design which makes their work unapologetically unconventional, and not abiding to any (graphic design) rules whatsoever. The studio’s graphic design style is characterized by big gestures, vibrant colors and a variety of shapes and textures. Absurdity as well as playfulness are leading in their practice. They are a regular collaborator of Sandberg Institute as well as Rietveld Academy. Studio BuyMyTalent is responsible for both the graphic identity of Queer is not a Manifesto as well as Gentle Them. Goy Tung: ‘Its all about catching people’s eyeballs.’
Studio BuyMyTalent / Goy Tung can be booked to do graphic design and/ or communication design.
Driven by the mantra that beauty has no boundaries, Timothy Paul (he/him) has made it his mission to make every kind of person look and feel beautiful. His driving force is the belief that beauty should be crafted and accessible to everyone. With this in mind, he has always strived to make everyone feel beautiful. He is carefully carving out spaces for people who traditionally have been left out of the beauty conversation. Timothy Paul's signature look is the image of a bold, strong, and assertive individual prepared for any challenge - each in their own way. Clients are diverse and include Linda Magazine, King Kong Magazine, Fucking Young Magazine, Coeval Magazine, and Sky writings Magazine. Key collaborators include Jan Hoek Studio, Fleur Feringa and Cathelijne Blok.
Timothy Paul can be booked for doing make up and hair.
Ursula Marcussen (DK) is a visual artist working with film, photography, performance and dance to investigate the dynamics of sexuality, rage and psychological trauma. She imagines that she is training to become an undercover agent: going invisible, questioning, infiltrating, looking for hints and hidden microphones. This continuous underscore of acting as an undercover agent grants her access to physical, mental, and spiritual transformations. She’s leaning into the relationship between our human identities and the spaces we inhabit as a way of researching the hierarchies within such identities as well as their political meaning and the resulting impact they have in wider society. Ursula has collaborated and performed with artists like Yoshiko Chuma, Kathleen Hermesdorf, Signa and Kasper Ravnhøj. As a visual artist she’s part of the group PhysicalCulture, that have worked together and exhibited in Amsterdam and Copenhagen.
Ursula Marcussen can be booked as a performer, photographer and visual artist.
Varloc is the alter-ego of Diego de Mos - both represent a diverse palet of characteristics. De Mos: ‘Because of Varloc I understand who I am.’ Varloc is a political expression of feelings and/ or emotions that are not (yet) represented by mainstream society. Varloc is famous for their charismatic shows in which they address topics like environmentalism. In Tokyo they wrapped themselves in garbage and residual material, after they used their (naked) body as a paintbrush. Subsequently they used they body as a tool and interacted with a blank canvas. Varloc is inspired by subjects like fantasy, sci-fi and demonology: the science or doctrine concerned with the study of demons. At the same time Varloc is as pluriform as can be: they can express themselves differently every day. Other than Tokyo Varloc has been performing in Londen, Zurich and Amsterdam.
Varloc can be booked as DJ, model, performer, host, go- go dancer, and make up artist.
wet dreamzZz was founded in 2021 with a performance piece in which three ‘sirens’ wake up in a bathroom and start their daily routine. These creatures exist in a hypnagogic state; a space between dreaming and being awake. Since then wet dreamzZz has developed into a performance collective that is influenced by magic realism, surrealism and ritual. Through the use of alter egos, wet dreamzZz queers archetypes, deconstructs perceptions of femininity and explores identity through gentle, mystical creatures. They use alter egos to explore their traumas, visions, delusions and hallucinations. Here they are aiming to open doors to our subconscious. wet dreamzZz is founded by artists Magdalena Petrova, Ratri Notosudirdjo and Lili Ullrich. Together they create performances, installations and videos inspired by their dreams, subconscious worlds and liminal experiences.
wet dreamzZz can be booked as a performance collective.
Dear board, management team and employees of [Name Institution] and all to whom it may concern,
On [DD/MM/YYYY] the project QUEER IS NOT A MANIFESTO will be launched in your institution. QUEER IS NOT A MANIFESTO is a series of live events and a digital podium on which those that identify as queer will present their interpretation of what queer means to them.
By creating such a podium QUEER IS NOT A MANIFESTO wants to not only problematize prevailing and reductive ways of describing a body (male, female, gay, straight etc.), but mostly invent new, more nuanced and inclusive ways of being and becoming.
First and foremost we would like to emphasize that by putting this event in (name institution), our mission is ultimately embedded in failure. [NAME INSTITUTION] has been, and still is, actively participating in the erasure of so many queer voices, especially for trans/bodies of colour. In subtle and occasionally blatant ways, it abides by colonial, patriarchal and heteronormative narratives that are extremely violent for so many in our community.
By the upholding of a mostly white board, management team and staff, ‘inclusivity’ results in becoming a topic; a quota. A door that can be opened in a well intended act of generosity, and closed again when circumstances become too difficult. By participating only in the f/m binary in your language, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam not only refers to bodies, but moreover creates them in a highly oppressive manner. Your collection features one type of person - in that respect we would like to point out that history is not a single story. By abiding to a colonial discourse of what is valid, [NAME INSTITUTION], again, not only refers to history but moreover creates it in a violent manner.
The list of structural exclusion that sits within your (public) institution is too long.
QUEER IS NOT A MANIFESTO is here to literally take up space and say we are not a topic, not a diversity quota, but bodies, histories and desires that are valid. We recognize the failure of being given over and sharing 3 hours that should in fact be, not a singular event but structural long lasting labour from the institution to make it a more inclusive space in terms of representation, collection, language, down to its board members and staff. In other words: QUEER IS NOT A MANIFESTO would like to strongly petition structural and long lasting labour from the institution to decolonize and queering their spirit. We also recognize that in every voice we have included, there are millions more we have not.
Yet within failure there is also opportunity. Within discomfort there is the opportunity to perforate the walls of the institution and catch up to the world that is rapidly developing around it. We are able to critique since we feel the change that is occurring around our bodies and right in front of our eyes as we walk in the world with increasing permission. This is why it is all the more painful when one steps into an institution, a public space designed to represent and challenge the times we live in, and that progress instantly falls away. QUEER IS NOT A MANIFESTO asks: how will the institution structurally change and meet the new contemporary?
On [DD/MM/YYYY] we are determined to make [NAME INSTITUTION] a safe space for our community, for all of the 3 hours that we are given. It is a very tiny gesture towards the creation of the future of [NAME INSTITUTION] that can comprehends so much more (and also less) than it is now.
QUEER IS NOT A MANIFESTO