LEEDS 2023: Meet a Malaysian-born non-binary trans artist who is now celebrating stories in Leeds

Artist and DJ Sayang. Photo: Tito Nicolau.

My name is Sayang and I am a Malaysian / British non-binary trans sound artist, DJ and activist.

I’m based in Leeds and born in Malaysia, and I know how vital it is for all of us to be able to express ourselves and create safer spaces to understand each other.

I think the best way to understand what a person is, especially someone who might be different from yourself, is through art and culture.

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It allows you to gain insight into someone’s mind, opinions, and stories – not an edited or glossed over version – and that’s why different avenues of creativity, especially music and art. , are so important to understanding people’s true and genuine selves.

I believe that everyone needs opportunities and space to be able to express themselves through creativity.

Much of my work focuses on creating safer spaces in Leeds; places where everyone feels comfortable, especially those who may feel marginalized because of their identity.

Creating safer spaces is a constant journey and the first and most important thing is to always be open, to learn and to continue to access as much information as possible to support your community and the communities you want to access. to your space.

We’re in a prime position to be able to speak openly in Leeds, so I’m using that to feature Malaysian queer stories for my next project.

It’s all part of the British Council’s LEEDS 2023 project The World in Our City, the City in Our World, which will see five Leeds-based artists working with artists from around the world to develop ideas that could be realized in Leeds and in collaborating countries in 2023.

I love that The World in Our City is all about telling stories beyond Leeds and working with international artists, connecting people in the city and around the world as part of our Cultural Year.

Leeds is such a vibrant place, full of life, history, talent and diverse creators. Everyone’s voices must be heard and I think this project represents the city as a whole, the diasporic communities and all.

I can’t wait to see the wonderfully talented people I know in this city grow up and be a part of it.

I am also delighted to meet new artists and designers from Leeds and connected countries.

Thanks to this collaboration, I now have a queer family in Malaysia and the prospect of it makes me incredibly happy.

For more information on The world in our city, the city in our world, Click here.


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Edward L. Robinett

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