Olá, Portugal!

I’m Anastas (they/them). I’m a new volunteer here, in RATO. Still not sure what exactly I’ll be doing here (yet), but I’m very open to this journey. Let me introduce myself! I’m a queer activist, nomad. For the past 7 years I’ve been working in the field of local justice, organizing and co-creating grassroots initiatives, activising locals, helping different NGO’s and finally using art as a medium to engage community.

I’m a dropout, last year I’ve decided to leave uni and focus on finding my sense of belonging. Still in that process. For the past 10 months I’ve visited 12 countries talking with countless of people. This experience truly changed me and made me question my identity, values and also my role in the society.

In between my trips I’ve managed to be a part of a beautiful initiative that is @biblioteka_azyl (library asylum) in Lublin, Poland. I’m so proud of this place, you cannot even image! Biblioteka is a safer place for queer youngsters (but not only!) where they can make a use of our quite big collection of books, but also take an active part of events! We have a book club, where we use books as a way to welcome people to talk about ideas, values or concepts; art exhibitions; performances; queer circles where we can practice our ability to hold a space for someone, listen actively as well as forming our thoughts the way we would want and many many more. Azyl is a big part of my heart and I can already tell I miss my community!

Another relevant part of my life is art. I’m an multidisciplinary artist. I do performances, spoken word, pottery, recently I got myself into sculpture. The way that we can welcome people and show them different perspectives by creating something amazes me. How asking different questions creates different outcome, how language shapes our reality, how we can change that reality just by using different words is something that has been stuck in my mind for some time now. 

Let’s see what questions this experience will bring.

Till the next time,

Anastas (they/them)