Indian history and mythology is rich with evidence of Transpersons holding important positions in the royal courts and society. According to several mythological stories they are believed to be bestowed with divine powers. However, in today’s society they are faced with severe forms of marginalisation, exclusion and discrimination – socially, culturally, economically, politically and legally – which has lead to them being denied livelihood opportunities, therefore forcing them into begging and sex work. As a result of which they have been further marginalised and excluded – given that neither of these livelihoods ensure any form of dignity and are frowned upon in Indian society. Transpersons are a sexual minority, which like all other sexual minorities in India have been robbed off their identities. The lack of understanding and negative perception of these individuals coupled with general apathy, stereotypes and stigmas has manifested in the form of limited interactions and conversations with other sections of society, further subjecting them to more severe forms of discrimination -sometimes even by their own families. Public (wall) art has known to be a powerful tool for enhancing community participation, mobilisation and for enhancing public interventions and support systems. The Aravani Art Project, aims at organically bringing together individuals from the Transcommunity, the communities they live in and local artists, to collaborate and paint public spaces. With this we intend to use it as a medium to initiate conversations, in this case the aspiration of creating some amount of awareness, the Art projects provides for a forum for interaction among members from the Trans community and those from the public; providing an opportunity for open interactions through which issues of stereotypes, stigma, discriminations, marginalisation and exclusion would get addressed.
Funded by Awesome Without Borders (March 2017)