The fifth edition of Gender Bender tackles subjects such as gender minorities, marriage migration and menstruation
Four years ago while conceptualising the Gender Bender festival, the organisers were clear about one thing. “We believed and still believe that art is at the crux of bringing positive change and increased empathy,” Shiva Pathak from Sandbox Collective tells us. The fest is a coming together of shortlisted artists’ art projects exploring topics of sex, gender and identity. The upcoming fifth edition, in association with Goethe-Institut, showcases the works of these artists, along with workshops, talks and performances on relevant topics.
This year, Sandbox Collective received around 200 applications that were then shortlisted by a jury made of filmmaker Saba Dewan, dance practitioner Mandeep Raikhy, journalist Rohini Mohan and activist Aqui Thami. The selected pieces include an installation by Ashmi Mridul and Sneha Joshi on the topic of marriage migration and a photo-graphic project titled Annamma about gender minorities. The fest’s first international artiste, Cairo-based Rania Atef presents a video project titled While Being An Octopus that looks at women in the Arab region. “The project comes as an extension of my research on maternity, especially from a social point of view. The project aims to represent the endless trials of creating balance in the lives of Arab women,” she tells us.
Artist Payal AP has created a tarot card deck that tackles taboo subjects of menstruation, infertility, childbirth and menopause. “I am very passionate about bringing women’s health to the fore and the deck is an attempt to raise awareness about female reproductive health. The goal was to use the storytelling aspect of the tarot to help women develop deeper understanding of their bodies and break through gendered social constructs,” the artist shares. In addition to showcasing the work of artists, the festival includes a set of curated displays, performances and talks. “The conversations that emerge as artists and audiences interact in this space are of immense value to the discourse. Gender Bender 2019 promises to be a colourful, exciting and celebratory exploration of gender and art,” co-organiser Nimi Ravindran signs off.
Entry free. August 21 - 24. At Bangalore International Centre, Domlur