Commissioned by In Transit Festival at House of World Cultures, Berlin in June 2011.
Biji Diva! is inspired by a figure that rose out of the artist’s research into Turkish cinema history – the Turkish transsexual pop diva Bülent Ersoy. She started her music and film career as a young man in the 70s, underwent gender re-assignment in 1981 (but kept her male name ‘Bülent’), had her performances banned by the military regime and went into exile in Germany.
In 1988 the Turkish civil code was revised and Bülent Ersoy received her ‘pink’ ID (for females) and made a triumphant return to showbusiness in Turkey.
In Feb 2008, she courted controversy when she publicly criticised Turkey’s war against Kurdish separatists by saying she would not send her son to war if she were a mother, during a live telecast of the Popstar Alaturka TV show.
In Biji Diva! the artist and his mother May Wong pay tribute to Bülent Ersoy in a live concert, portraying her from 4 stages of her life: Boy Bülent, ‘Trans’ Bülent, Woman Bülent, and ‘Mother Bülent’.
The performance is intended to tour to Istanbul in the future. It will be recorded and eventually both versions will be edited to form a final installation.