“Transgender persons don’t care about art because they are running around to make ends meet and for them, that’s something more important than artistic expression. But I believe that artistic expression can actually be beneficial in improving one’s self-esteem, self-expression and also provide livelihood opportunities.
For the past two years, through the Sahodari Foundation, I’ve been running a project called Trans Hearts. With the help of like-minded artists from my community, I travelled across Tamil Nadu and Kerala and mobilised the transgender persons and offered them free art workshops. What I have realised is there are many members of our community who are expressive and artistic. But what’s lacking is there are no mediums, platforms, proper guidance, and opportunities to showcase their talent,” says Kalki Subramaniam, founder of Sahodari Foundation.
There is a huge talent that is untapped and unexplored among the LGBTQI community and Kalki wanted to bring those talented artists to the fore. Though the foundation has organised art shows that focused on the aesthetics of art, this is the first time they are hosting a show that’s vocal about gender issues and expression. Talking about one of the art installations, Kalki reveals, “Among the many artworks, there is an interesting work called MeToo File. I did this project with my friend Soundarya Gopi. We travelled all over the state, met transgender persons and asked them to create their right-hand impression on a paper.
We also asked them to write their most painful experiences on the same paper. It was like a big relief for many when they penned their experiences. Many of them have never spoken about those incidents because shaming and discrimination have become a part of our lives. Usually, most of us forget and move on with life. But I thought it should be documented. If you can talk about struggle and battle for equal rights, then injustice should also be addressed. We documented stories about harassment, shaming of gender identity, etc, of more than 100 transgender persons.”