My Inspiration: Vijay Patel – Pull The Trigger | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Performance artist Vijay Patel is performing his final UK tour of Pull the Trigger this spring and will be stopping by Northern Stage, Newcastle on Wednesday 18th March. It is a show exploring Indian corner shop culture as a site to explore personal identity (queer discovery), family conflicts surrounded by the legacy and history of shop-keeping values from Ugandan-Asian migrants.

Vijay shares with us the inspiration behind the production.

Pull the Trigger was formed predominantly with the purpose of raising awareness and providing an extra voice to people of colour, migrants and the LGBTQIA+ community. 

I started making this show in 2015. My inspirations for creating this show were through working within my family corner shop, firstly. I exploited what this space meant to me and my family, which led me on to thinking about the migration. Migration is the reason my family and many Ugandan-Asians came to this country in 1972. In the past five years of making and performing this work, it has felt extremely important for me to show this and tour it to places where acceptance of minority communities is challenging and often unseen. My working-class heritage throughout my life meant that this show was always going use that as a starting point, but go deeper into the other themes explored in the show. As an artist, who is a person of colour, who is queer, who is a second-generation migrant, who is working class; gives me agency and a power to write this story from this voice. 

I’m inspired by the queer people surrounding me, those who embrace their identity and their daily resilience. Queer people are being harassed, abused, misgendered, not validated daily. Pull the Trigger raises the queer voices for those who grow up discovering their identity and find it within their heritage. I really hope that people can relate their own personal narrative within that.

I’m inspired by the range of artists today who make autobiographical/political work and unapologetically challenge perceptions on topics which are often controversial. I made Pull the Trigger to be accessible to a range of audiences, so that it would be easy to follow, but not simplistic. Brimming beneath the everyday shop-keeping is a frustration, a want for a better/different life, a desire to be accepted. Many things have changed since my family arrived to this country in the 1970’s, but minority communities still need support daily, we need allies, solidarity and people to hear stories like this and contribute to positive change.

What is the main thing that inspires me? If I could make one person of colour or queer person feel empowered through this show, then that would be an achievement for me. We must continue to uplift minorities, if we are going to continue progress.

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