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Home / Art and Culture / Strong revolution: Delhi artists cheer queer

Strong revolution: Delhi artists cheer queer

As the Supreme Court finally agrees to ­consider pleas for gay rights, there’s also a strong revolution brewing in the art quarters.

art-and-culture Updated: Apr 07, 2014 19:07 IST
Subuhi Parvez
Subuhi Parvez
Hindustan Times

There may be some relief for the gay community after Supreme Court’s decision to consider the plea for an open court hearing on the petitions filed by gay rights activists, but the fight continues.

Some artists in the city have taken to raising ­sensitivity towards the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and ­transgender) community through varied works over the past few months, and remain unperturbed by ­detractors.

Mithu Sen, 42, who has been working around the theme ‘queer’ since a long time, isn’t cagey about her work despite so much resistance in the society.

Sen's gender-based ­exploration of a universal humane erotics and sexuality is a part of the larger project to understand human emotions. Her works focus on the marginalised human emotions and feelings, which are universal and core concern to all individuals.

"I do not allow repressive scrutiny to weigh over me. So when at times my works are turned down, or refused, it ­provokes me…I take it on as the next challenge," Sen asserts.

"A man is vulnerable to socio-cultural baggage of ­behaviour as are women. We all are in some way suppressed at the hands of historical, cultural, regional and lingual preconceptions. This is the running theme of my works," she adds.

A lot of people read her series ‘Black Candy’ as a homoerotic text and the artist insists that this series intends to break the male-female stereotypes.

Sunil Gupta, 60, is known to be one of the key artists behind the queer art movement in India. This, bravely in the face of ­similar protests.

"The more there is hostility, the more one must try and show the work, after all, art was not invented to make people feel cosy but to ask some very real questions about our lives. Some of which are bound to make some people very uncomfortable. That there is censorship is a shame, I feel this issue deserves a much wider and more serious debate," says Gupta.

When his own work was removed from the Alliance Francaise, Gupta was promised a public debate, but it never ­happened.

Artist Balbir Krishan, whose work was taken off during an exhibit, says there is still a long way to go. Life turned upside down for him last year when a series of his work on homosexuality was pulled down in Hyderabad. And not only did his work suffer, his ­personal life also went for a toss.

"This controversy was followed by my relationship with Mike. And as and when it came out in public, my family had abandoned me. The whole social circle had abandoned me," says Krishan who has been engaged to long time boyfriend Michael Giangrasso. Now, however, he is in the ­process of finishing his latest work which will get ­exhibited soon enough.