Congratulations to our 13 new fellows
Women, trans* and queer artists across identity and location, creating works on life and living in these regressive, misogynistic and challenging times.
Fellowship Period: November 2021 - March 2022
It’s the times we live in, marked by a raging pandemic that refuses to be assuaged by the millions of lives it has destroyed. On other fronts, natural disasters, economic downturns, communal assertions, casteist and sexual violence, homo- and trans- phobia, intolerance and nationalist rhetorics continue to lock us in, shut us out, pull friends and lovers apart, leave our worlds asunder. We try to hold on to our ways of being and belonging, living, loving, working and dreaming. We struggle to sustain our social, political, and artistic engagement with the world. But our experiences of loss, pain, hunger, deprivation, and violation, bear distinctive scars deepened by our identities of caste, gender, class, sexuality, dis/ability, and ethnicity.
What we are really confronting today is the timelessness of our oppressions. Continuing patriarchal control of our bodies, selves, minds, and spaces. Increasing legitimacy of family and community power on individuals. New strictures guised as protective measures. Willful marginalisation of those dis-abled by society, or dis-owned by the state. Systemic violence that reinforces hierarchies and intensifies the fragility of the most vulnerable. Widespread ‘othering’ of entire communities and regions as contagion to be controlled, pushed aside, their hope of equality quashed forever. State sponsored vigilante actions, majoritarian aggressions, and of course, outright suppression of our freedom to speak and act, especially as women, trans* and queer folks.
But act we must. Through our words, our art, our bodies, our voices, our expressions. We resist, we rage, we evoke, we challenge, we sneer, we laugh, we cry and, yes, we also celebrate our desires, dreams, and memories, as well as our freedoms, equality, dignity and rights so hard won. This is the moment to question, create and deliberate. To start new conversations, to imagine without inhibition, to disrupt notions of what is and must be, with the possibilities of what can be, may be, should be, will be.
We hope the outcomes of the reFrame Fellowships will together traverse new terrain and help carry forward public discourse on multiple and complex issues relating to gender. With a plurality of content and artistic treatments, reFrame hopes to contribute to creating a more robust artistic eco-system, quite unlike the train-wreck of dominant forces that seeks to demolish every trace of diversity and dissent today.
Our Fellows. Their voice. Their medium.
Aakash Chhabra. A Winter's Elegy. An essay film about Panipat's cloth recycling workers and its ever-changing skies. It follows everyday life in the industrial wasteland as people try to find their footing again, after a standstill of a year.
Muntaha Amin. Textures of a Siege. What did it mean to live in a perpetual siege, coupled with total communication blockade on top of a triple lockdown for the women of Kashmir. This hybrid documentary will try to delve into these questions exploring how the idea of life/living, time and space completely transformed for Kashmir post Article 370 abrogation.
Ipsita Choudhury. A Place Called Home. Documenting forgotten stories of refugees of the Bengal partition; drawing attention to those living in the margins even today, through a series of graphic narratives.
The Storyboard Collective. Reserved: On Board. A graphic narrative on the issue of access of public space and rights to fishworker women of Kerala in the late 1970s, and the younger generation of women during the pandemic.
Debarati Sarkar. In Memory of Future Protests. Aggrieved at the violent suppression of offline resistance at present and in anticipation of future movements waiting in the streets, this project seeks to fabulate ephemera inspired by past moments of feminist mobilisation, thus working towards a possible grammar of feminist culture(s) of protest-makings/doings.
Natasha Chandhock. Bereft. A mixed media art project that uses a non-binary lens to foreground the gendered experience of existing within a disabled body assigned female at birth, with the story being told through objects that define this body’s limitations and its non-limitations.
Abhishek Anicca. Dear Aphrodite. My body bleeds pain and pleasure, illness and imperfection, loss and longing. It embodies all that and more in a performative space, through poetry, anecdotes, movement and silence. It also gives the world a glimpse of what it is like to be a disabled, fat and queer person in this world. It uses the personal to explore the political, the social and often, the unsaid.
Jyotsna Siddharth. Janeu Prompts. An ongoing performative series responding to incidents of caste based and sexual violence against marginalised identities and communities in India.
Manjari K. Firefly Women | जुग्नु दिल औरतें. A physical theatre piece, shall explore ideas of feminist utopia, such as Rokeya Shakhawat Hossain’s Sultana's Dream, against the background of letters written from jail by two young women who were wrongly incarcerated under a draconian law. Through these letters we shall find inroads into feminist solidarity, resilience and hope in these dark times.
Shobhana Kumari. Am I a Mass Production Machine – Shobhana and Me. Conversations between diverse bodies identifying as women and assigned female with uteri, ovaries, and clitoris. Exploring their experiences of caste, religion, gender and violence. Addressing the desires and pleasures of mere organs v/s bodies that dream with both, love and aversion.
Urvija Priyadarshini. Feminist in Fragments: An Unbecoming and a Becoming. A self-exploratory and reflexive work comprising of words and music, rhythm and meter that attempts to encapsulate the subjective process of becoming a feminist; a process that demands reiterations of multiple becomings and unbecomings as well as reconfigurations, transformations and multiplicity of negotiations with the self as well as family, community and state institutions.
Arul Kani. Identity Matters. Conversations that seek to subvert dominant narratives around caste and gender to deconstruct the Dalit feminist identity/identities and issues.
The Chinky Homo Project. Rethinking and Reframing Northeast. Northeastern people thinking and talking Northeast India, the region and its people.
Grants under the Fellowships ranged from Rs. 37,500/- to Rs 1,25,000/-, including artist's fee.