Through artistic practices, we engage in challenging social and moral constructions of gender and sexuality and create provocative works which are playful in nature. Over the years through curation and production of artistic work, we have explored questions around the notions of safety, surveillance and degrees of risk within the context of public spaces. Our focus has been to highlight narratives from within the working class, which are often ignored in the discourse around gender, sexuality, pleasure and violence. We have demonstrated how the meaning of time and space affect gender and sexuality. We have worked closely with students on issues of sexual harassment on campus, using creative practices to create spaces of learning and sharing. We situate our works in public space, which presents us the challenge of engaging with diverse demographics, on questions of access, violence, mobility, infrastructure, leisure, all of which are impacted by and impinge upon how we experience gender. We have also curated festivals and exhibitions reflecting on the gendered processes of representation and creation within the art world.
Bevaru is a bi-monthly newspaper dedicated to the struggles and resilience of the female work-force in Bangalore, particularly the sex workers, garment workers, domestic workers and powrakarmikas (waste pickers). Each issue explores a different facet of their lives and experience of the city, moving away from a singular representation of the worker. It stays close to the lives of women/queer working class communities, which reveal the desire, violence, love, loss and alienation that comprise life in a city. The newspaper situates itself as the intersection of gender, sexuality and labour, a perspective which often gets flattened in labour histories.
The newspaper is produced in collaboration with the domestic worker, sex worker, garment worker and powrakarmika unions in the city, and articles are researched and written in consultation with the workers. The newspaper is published in English, Hindi and Kannada and distributed through union networks and at public events in the city. In addition, we curate events in public spaces for the workers to express themselves through creative practices, such as music, dance and performance.
Equal: Womens’ voices for a collective humanity
As curators for Rangashankara’s bi-annual festival, ‘Equal- Voices for a Collective Humanity’ our intention was to foreground resilience through a feminine lens. An acknowledgment of the feminine, is not simply to categorise oppression, but to confront the patriarch that exists within us. The festival looked at the masculine and feminine, operational in different degrees, across history and memory.
Equal featured performances that portray masculine and feminine impressions emerging from memory, violence and lived experiences. Travelling across musical landscapes, the ‘Mehfil’ sessions carried the listener into worlds suppressed and transformed. Panel discussions explored the censored body and the role of oral histories in contemporary times. Threshold/Chowkhat/Hosalu, a visual exhibition brought to the fore different forms of resilience, in the private and public realm.
Radio In A Purse
Radio in A Purse (RIP) is an audio platform designed as a space for students to listen and share experiences of sexual harassment on campus. RIP also offers workshops, walks and exhibitions as a way of opening spaces of conversation on sexual harassment, gender stereotypes, feminism and morality with young people. Visit https://radioinapurse.wixsite.com/radioinapurse/about to learn more.
Secrets from the Scarecrow | Exhibition
In 2016, we invited diverse publics in Cubbon Park, to come create scarecrows. Using hay, old cloth and other waste material, these scarecrows came to life, representing experiences in the park- of violence, desire, love, fantasy, migration, leisure and dreams. Scarecrows that embodied the courage of lovers, sneaking into the park away from the prying eyes of family and the police; the resilience of sex workers who occupy corners for work and a few laughs ; the loneliness of men and women who found transient loves in the park. The scarecrows offer diverse imaginations and experiences of gender within a public park, of private joys in public spaces.