Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Photos of Tamil Nadu's transgender community at India Art Fair

From the nuanced strokes of the artists to the eyecatching photographs on display; from the towering installations to the surprising sound and video art; the India Art Fair 2014
has tried to bring every art form on the same palette.  The Bangalore-based artist has taken it as a mission to sanitise people on the issue of transgender rights.
"We often use the terms Gender identity and Sexual orientation interchangeably. We are not aware of the fact that there are 25 genders in the world; the terms that we use derogatorily are infact the gender identities of many. We still look at people through the conventional prism of man and woman. If someone does not fit into that prism, he or she becomes queer for us," says the photographer who is all set to make a documentary film on the transgenders of the famous Koovagam village of Tamil Nadu.  The village in the Villupuram district of the state rose to prominence due to the 15-day annual festival organised there by the transgender and transvestite individuals.
A large sized photograph of one of the transgenders participating in the festival is priced at Rs. 40,000. Other photographs range between Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 40,000.  The documentary titled 'Tavam' meaning penance in Tamil, is a look at the life of transgenders with the backdrop of the festival.  The funds raised through the sale of the photographs will be ploughed into the film, said the photographer.
"For me art is not a rich man's hobby. If it is of no use, art becomes stagnant. It should have the power to stimulate intellectually your audience. My work is an effort to open the doors for a freewheeling conversation," Sandhya said.  She recalls how she helped a security guard posted at the Art Fair to understand about gender identity.
"The interest of that guard in knowing what I was talking about was my moment of glory. I felt that I could educate atleast one person with my work," the artist said.  Sandhya explained why she named her work at the exhibition as well as the documentary 'Tavam'.  "I termed it Tavam because that is what they are doing in their lives. Their lives are a continuous penace," she said.