Introducing the grantees and projects for this year’s edition of Gender Bender.

  1. Ajithlal is an actor, theatre maker and performance artist. His project, entitled Jasmine Walk, is a performance that celebrates different identities. It aims to use jasmine, a flower usually associated with femininity, to look at gender as a day-to-day performance in public spaces.

  2. Deepikah Bhardwaj is a multi-disciplinary artist who experiments with different media to express issues related to gender, society, self worth and perception. Her project is an installation, tentatively titled ‘Trial Room’ based on real life experiences of women who find themselves lost amidst the fictional categories of XS, S, M, L, XL- different sizes of clothing and their correlation with body image.

  3. Furqan Jawed and Sohil Bhatia’s installation will examine the legal material required to undergo official gender transition in documents. The work examines affidavits, declarations, institutional certifications, medical certification, employment papers and critically looks at the language employed as well as how arduous process is made to be.

  4. Ita Mehrotra, a visual artist and arts researcher, plans to create a visual story as a fold-out accordion style open comic that traces the intricacies of a home structure within an Indian metropolis where there is a single parent – a mother, taking on several jobs all at once, constantly erasing gendered boundaries of women’s work, gender roles, a mother’s role, marriage, home and parenting, which continue to be set in stone, and creating new ones.

  5. Jinal Sangoi’s project, Stories of Invisible Labour, is an installation that will consist of engraved utensils and audio recordings of interviews with six women from Mumbai. Her project hopes to engage with the oppressed, the forgotten and the taken-for-granted beings—and make visible the invisible through her engravings on the kitchen utensils.

  6. Kadak Collective will present a curated set of graphic stories accompanied by a set of exploratory audiovisual works. These art works will revolve around the idea of- boobs. Boobs, breasts, nipples, have been a contentious topic over the last few years in social media.  Their intent is to look at this theme in the Indian context: What is the perception of breasts in Indian culture and history? What’s it like to want and not be born with breasts? What’s it like to lose them? When did shame come to be associated with breasts?

  7. Nairita Thakurata will present a short film that captures the journey of two trans-women, and their gritty battle for recognition, as well as provide sneak peek into their inner worlds. A part of the film would be a conversation between two wonderful women sharing their views and discussing what they could do individually and as a community

  8. Padmaja Varma, Chenna Kesava, Alekhya, and Hansa Thapliyal will together present a short video about the works of The Surabhi Theatre, a century and a half old group from Hyderabad. This film will document the life and works of traditional and senior artists of this group and examine their deep knowledge of how form can play with fixed social ideas of gender.

  9. Pranav Sreerag’s project is an installation consisting of sounds, smells, a large textile-based sculpture, and a live human performer. It will take from the story of a woman called Nangeli, which is often portrayed as one woman’s heroic struggle against a patriarchal casteist system. Pranav aims to reposition the story as part of the struggle of a people — indeed a class — against an oppressive feudal power that uses women’s bodies as a tool to subjugate an entire farming community and maintain its parasitic hold.

  10. Santa Khurai will create a short documentary film on the on the lives of indigenous trans children in the Meetei community of Manipur, their lived experiences, the challenges they face, and how their families and society negotiate with their own biases to give a better life to their trans children. She is based in Imphal.