Smoqua, the Festival of queer and feminist culture, started in Rijeka today and over three days the audience will get the chance to attend a rich programme comprised of performances, workshops, public discussions and conversations, exhibitions and music.

The three-day festival presents a queer-feminist perspective on domestic and international artists and activists within the theme of “Pride and prejudices”.


Thursday, 17 May was selected as the opening day when we celebrate International day against homophobia, transphobia and biphobia (IDAHOT). Rijeka remains the only city in Croatia which actively supports IDAHOT by flying the rainbow flag on the City Hall building, so this act will officially open the festival.


In line with this year’s theme – Pride and prejudices – all festival activities are oriented towards introducing attendees to LGBTIQ and feminist topics and developing critical thinking on relevant issues, with a special focus on achieving dialogue with the audience.


On Thursday, after flying the rainbow flag on the City Hall building (Korzo 16), the programme continues with a Queer walk through Rijeka at 3 PM, starting at the Smoqua booth on Korzo. At 5:30 PM the City Hall will host the public discussion “Overview of LGBT and women’s rights in Europe” at which moderator Marina Škrabalo will talk to UN representative Cianán Russel, Romanian LGBT activist Florin Buchenau and Polish female reproductive rights activist Karolina Wieckiewicz. The first day of the festival will end at 8 PM with a live art performance “Body Dialetics” by multimedia artists Kris Grey in Filodrammatica. Through the performance, the artist explores identity, transformations and embodiments, combines personal experiences with social justice, power and control, and uses his transgender experience as a lab for revealing binary gender as a social phenomenon.


On Friday, visitors will be able to learn about feminist self-defence at a workshop starting at 2 PM in Palach and led by Mónica Cano Abadía. At 4 PM, the photo exhibition (In)visible Love Stories by Martina Šalov opens in Ri-info, which is a reaction to the complete lack of visibility of photos of LGBT couples. At 5 PM at Križanićeva 6, the headquarters of the Građanke svom gradu association, Zvonimir Dobrović from Queer Zagreb will talk with artists Mavi Veloso and Kris Grey, and at 6 PM at the same location Mavi Veloso will present her trans-disciplinary research encompassing video, performances, photography, fashion and queer and drag queen culture. Shortly after that, he GSG magazine for society and art, a document based on the first Smoqua festival, will be presented.


On Saturday, 19 May, the programme continues with a Living Library event at Filodrammatica at noon, and one hour later authors Doris Pandžić, Dunja Matić and Petra Bezjak will present their short stories on the topic of pride and prejudices through a prism of eroticism, identity and worker’s rights which the audience will be able to complete.


At 3 PM at Klub Mladih (Erazma Barčića 9a), dramaturge Olga Dimitrijević and playwright Jasna Žmak will hold the “Pokvirivanje!” workshop at which they will teach the audience how to break down and rewrite the plot of a mainstream film and play in order to raise awareness of their general heteronormativity and exclusivity. At 5 PM, Filodrammatica will host artist Ruth Borgfjord’s performance “Ctitoria Clitoria” which destabilises the notions of gender and gender roles, immediately followed by the discussion “Who is allowed to believe in God?” at which Marjana Harcet, Mihael Sečena and Ruth Borgfjord will discuss the relationship of the Church towards women and the LGBT community. Finally, at 7 PM, the Art-kino will play the movie “Ja kad sam bila klinac bila sam klinka” by Ivana Todorović, who will also be there to talk about the movie.


The festival ends with a party at Klub Crkva at midnight with guest DJ Sonja Sajzor from Belgrade, a visual artists and activist for transgender rights, recognisable for her experimental combination of alternative, darker pop and hip-hop with a pinch of nostalgia for the elements of late 1990s and early 2000s music.