Gender Bender 2020 takes on topics like toxic masculinity, queer Muslims artists and Bangla oral traditions

Here's a sneak peek into the upcoming edition of the art festival 

author_img Team Indulge Published :  03rd December 2020 05:28 PM   |   Published :   |  03rd December 2020 05:28 PM

Some of the grantees

Gender Bender, a joint project of the Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan and Sandbox Collective, is back with its sixth edition. The festival aims at keeping the gender discourse alive in the arts, through comic books, art, movies, live performance peices and more. The panel of judges this year included dancer, writer and pedagogue Ranjana Dave, Professor at St Joseph's and writer Vijeta Kumar, playwright, director and performer Irawati Karnik, and poet, artist and trans activist Kalki Subramaniam. The panel shortlisted grantees from over 200 submissions this year and selected projects from all over the country.  The year's projects include a film on the Laund Naach of Bihar, another on the short life of a queer artist, a film montage on male empathy, a transatlantic musical conversation, theatre and dance performances, performative and visual arts explorations, comic books, paintings and more. The works will be on view from 4 December 2020 on

Here are the grantees for Gender Bender 2020, and their works: 

Aamir Rabbani, New Delhi
Aamir  holds a BFA (painting) from Jamia Millia Islamia University. and works on themes of sexuality, gender, desire, intimacy and love. The artiste's project explores the Launda Naach (loosely translates to
the boy dance) of Bihar and how these dancers are minority artists marginalized by society. 

Anonnya Banik, Dhaka
Anonnya is a dancer and a transgender activist, spearheading a movement for transgender and Hijra rights in Bangladesh. Anonnya aims to create a dance performance drawing from the narratives of pain and discrimination faced by the transgender and Hijra community of South Asia in living their daily lives.

Anoushka Kurien, Chennai
Anoushka is a Chennai-based dancer. She is now working on What Talk of Body. What Talk of Body stems from a few questions around the body that look at the ways we locate, unlearn and relocate our bodies and being.

C G Salamander, Chennai & Samidha Gunjal, Ahmednagar
C G Salamander is a comic journalist and writer, while Samidha is an illustrator and animator. Scavenging is a nonfiction comic that aims to examine and educate people about the inhuman practice of manual scavenging. 

Chikka Dodda Art Lab, Bengaluru
Chikka Dodda Art Lab i.e. ‘small big art lab’ is a Bangalore based ‘indie’ art and activism lab founded by Pranav Patadiya and Satchit Puranik. Mard Hamdard / Male Empath is a collage film which decodes, demystifies and deconstructs the portrayals of (non) toxic masculinity (ies) in 107 years of Indian cinema. 

Gargi Harithakam, Kozhikode
Gargi is an activist, writer and a filmmaker. Gargi's short film Madhuravanam (The Sweet Forest) is an attempt to have a closer look at a queer friend who is no longer alive.

Nandagopan, Alappuzha
Nandagopan is a theatre practitioner based in Kerala. Nandagopan's play aims to explore the complexities associated with gender discourse. 

Purshottam Pawar, Mumbai
Purshottam uses paintings to express his emotions and feelings in his work. Through this project Purushottam aims to represent the ‘third gender’ in his paintings. 

Rashmi Ravikumar, Bengaluru
Rashmi is a theatre director, actor, translator and facilitator. Amma makkalu ellinda bartave (Mommy where do babies come from?), is an anthology of Kannada stories about womxn’s sex, sexuality and desire.

Reya Ahmed, Kolkata
Reya is a 24-year-old visual artist exploring feminism, queer identity and her experiences of growing up in a Bengali-Muslim household. The Queer Muslim Monthly collates art projects, art installations, video installations, comics, illustrations, interviews of and by Queer Muslim artists

Sangram Mukhopadhyay, Kolkata
Sangram, an aspiring dancer. The project, Sangram, deriving his source of movement from a 70s club-
style namely Waacking/Whacking, is curious to understand how to contemporize the movement with a series of explorations.

Shrishti Chatterjee, Kozhikode
Shrishti is a visual artist and researcher. Her project hopes to reframe the identity of the single migrant woman in the city - the elusive world of the ‘bachelor woman’ 

Shruthi Veena Vishwanath, Pune & Sylvia Hinz, Berlin
Shruthi is a musician, composer and educator. Sylvia is praised for her equally fierce and bold dramatic performance style; Resonxnce - Dissonxnce is a musical diary by two female musicians, made as a response to our lives around the pandemic that challenges notions of what musicality and
melody is. 

Sohini S, New Delhi
Sohini is an illustrator from the suburbs of Bengal. Sohini is building a book with some interactive tools that reimagine the rhymes and songs from Bangla oral traditions and talk about gender roles, in the light of nightmares from her own childhood. 

Vikram Phukan, Guwahati
Vikram is a Mumbai-based theatre practitioner and stage commentator.  The Adventures of Jil Jil is a whimsical tale about a comic character from a Tamil classic.