By Sarah Pupo in collaboration with Josh Pavan
She may have traded her microphone for a megaphone, but you would be hard-pressed not to recognize that signature hairpiece above the crowd. Lady Gaza has recently emerged as her latest reinvention, this time from international superstar to – if you can believe it – Palestine activist.
“I just really felt that, as an artist, it was my time to give back. Everyone talks about Darfur and the Congo, but what about the West Bank?” she says, pictured at Montreal Pride in a custom Thierry Mugler.
Her latest transition hasn’t pleased all the fans however, and despite how nonchalantly she plays it off, the subject can still stir her infamously well-documented temper. “I’ve been blessed with some amazing fans,” she tells us from her Ramallah home, “but at the end of the day you have to be true to yourself. These Disneyfied faggots, they love queens as long as you’re decorative, don’t say anything political, but open your mouth and they cry that you’re highjacking their parade, that you’re not a ‘real gay’ concerned with ‘real gay’ issues.
I’m Lady m**********n Gaza! I am realness!”
Sarah Pupo was born in Toronto, Ontario and lives in Montreal, Quebec. Through painting, drawing and animation she works with methods of making that place value on intuition, ritual, associative thinking and the flux of chance and control. Her practice is rooted in a desire to undermine hierarchies privileging rational, linear experience over that which lies beyond traditional means of perception and understanding. Recent projects include a solo show at La Centrale in Montreal, Quebec, group shows in Vancouver and Berlin and a collaborative animation with the Norwegian recording artist, Nina Nielsen.
Joshua Pavan is an Alberta-bred queen relocated to Montreal where he works as a trade unionist and community organizer. In the summer of 2007, he was one of the co-founders of Pervers/Cité, Montreal’s radical queer summer festival. When not figuring out political drag as the Lady Gaza, he can be found defending the honour of misunderstood popstars.