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  • Gabrielle Antar

Studio Scuro: a space for the feminists, the queers and the others



Queer feminist spaces in Luxembourg are rare—not because we don't exist, but because the places where we can feel at home are so limited that they practically don't exist. One of the few places in the country where you can feel abnormally normal is Dunia Ciuferri’s feminist queer tattoo space located between the former social security headquarters and the Bouillon parking lot in the capital. This space is now celebrating its one-year anniversary.

 

Dunia has created a space that is much more than a tattoo studio; it has become a haven for Luxembourg's alternative FLINTA* outcasts. Being a bi person herself, Dunia was determined to establish a space for her younger self. "I had to trust myself and create a place that I would have needed back then, growing up here in Luxembourg," she said. While you can book an appointment with Dunia at Studio Scuro for some iconic body art, that's not the only community opportunity you can find there.


“From the start, I knew that this place was not going to be just a tattoo studio,” she told déi aner. Dunia was resolute, after meeting so many people through her practice, to create a space for people to come together. She understood that Luxembourg is not the easiest country to build a community and friendships. Hence, Studio Scuro is more than just a tattoo studio; it's a place where people can regularly gather for a diverse set of activities and finally feel like they can be themselves.

 

Having grown up in Luxembourg, constantly searching for places where you belong, the tattoo artist moved to Berlin for nine years where she discovered the possibilities for those gravitating towards a more alternative and critically minded cultural space. The myriad of possibilities she encountered there "felt so right experiencing". In a country where we don’t even have a queer bar tailored to more than just gay cis men, Studio Scuro needed to exist, according to Dunia.


“In my personal life, it was time to leave Berlin behind, and then I came back to Luxembourg and I knew this needs to happen here now. I was looking for it 15 years ago and now I know what my direction is, and I am going to try to make this for young people so that they have something to look forward to. I see myself a lot in them,” she said.

 

In Berlin, Dunia decided to dare. She started posting her artistic illustrations on social media, not knowing that this would lead her to a successful career in tattooing. This moment of stepping outside of her comfort zone is also one of the main reasons why Studio Scuro is much more than just a place to get some body art.

 

There are two other important pillars in her studio: firstly, there's the "creator's eck", where Dunia has reached out to queer and feminist creators, not necessarily professional ones, to exhibit their talents in the corner of her studio. All she wants is to give creatives who may not have the opportunity to showcase their skills elsewhere, and those who suffer from imposter syndrome, the chance to step out of their comfort zone and take ownership of their own talents.



The final pillar of this little refuge that is the studio is the monthly events. When it comes to queer feminist events, I don't think you could find more random and beautiful opportunities for community gathering than at Studio Scuro. Whether it's a zine-making workshop, a life drawing session, an interactive workshop on queerness, or a morning yoga session, this place is definitely one to watch if you're looking for random but wholesome things to do in the Grand Duchy.


The existence of Studio Scuro is a breath of fresh air in a country dominated by elitist bourgeois activities and spaces, with politicians in power who try to stifle any chance for subcultures to flourish. A small example is the Richtung 22 collective being evicted from Batiment 4 without any clear reason. The same thing happened last year to other collectives, which déi aner was one of the first to report on.

 

Even though situations like these are meant to discourage us, people based in Luxembourg who are craving these spaces and a reason to enjoy their lives here are not backing down.

 

“The thing is Luxembourg is 10 years behind, some people say 20, like where are the queer bars? Where are the vegan places? Where is the punk? All these things that every capital is supposed to have. Luxembourg has such a long way to go but I did feel when I came back 2 years ago that some things had changed from when I left. So, change is coming. I can see it when I speak to like-minded people, all these people that came back after having lived abroad, they know what is missing and they are eager to make it happen,” she said.


For me, on a personal level, I took a deep breath of relief, sighing "finally" as I left the first event I attended at Studio Scuro. Finally, a space where you feel safe and included. Finally, there are people trying to create something new and community-based in this small country. Finally, we have a space that I had always hoped would one day exist in Luxembourg. A space for the feminists, the queers, and the others...

 

It's these kinds of small steps in the right direction that give you hope for the future of this hyper-capitalist country.



*FLINTA stands for Female, Lesbian, Intersex, Trans and Agender. It stands for anyone who is not a cis man. Cis or cisgender is the opposite of transgender. A cisgender person presents as and/or identifies as the gender that they were assigned at birth. Source: Ecotopia Bike Tour


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