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1992, Ordu, Republic of Türkiye
Currently based in Rotterdam, the Netherlands
MFA, Ecologies of Transformation, Sandberg Institute, Amsterdam, 2023
BFA, VAV - moving image, Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam, 2020
BA, English Literature, Istanbul University, Istanbul, 2015
Mayıs Rukel is an artist, writer and filmmaker, creating works empowered by and in solidarity with the foundations of radical Black queer feminism, healing justice lineages, radical pedagogy, embodied social justice, disability justice, somatics as a political strategy, emergent strategy, abolitionist framework, pleasure and erotic as liberatory power, conflict transformation lineages, rest as resistance, Indigenous liberation movements, climate justice, decolonized food and medicine, decolonized practices of archiving, speculative fiction worldbuilding and more.
A brief list of people whose works have been the main riverbeds in the expansion of his practice: Audre Lorde, James Baldwin, bell hooks, adrienne maree brown, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Kai Cheng Thom, Camille Barton, Staci K. Haines, Rae Johnson, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Tricia Hersey, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Octavia E. Butler, carla joy bergman, Angela Davis, Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Silvia Federici, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, Robyn Maynard, Beyoncé, Rupa Marya, Susan Raffo, Victoria McKenzie, Mar Maiques Diaz, Joy Mariama Smith, Sean-Claude Barnaby Neufville, Lina Bravo Mora, Jules Davis-Dufayard.
Born in the early 90s in Ordu, Northern Türkiye to a largely Turkish family, Mayıs lived in Istanbul and Ankara for 23 years before moving to Amsterdam in 2015 for his BFA in Moving Image at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie. He later received his MFA from the Ecologies of Transformation department at the Sandberg Institute, researching how art, artists and embodiment can be agents for social change and transformation; program curated and led by Camille Barton.
Mayıs is an older brother to a wonderful sister, a queer body with a background in politics, philosophy and literature. His sun is in Gemini, ascendant in Virgo and Moon is in Taurus, feeling closest to the element earth. As branches of his artistic practice, he moderates panels and colour-grades other artists' films. He is also one half of the community building art project Radical Roots with Lina Bravo Mora, utilizing food and storytelling as care from the roots, for and by migrants.
Mayıs is grateful for any moment he feels more. He is actively working on expanding his capacity for feeling much, much more.
Background photo by Lotte Spek photography
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