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Interested in gender discourses? here you go

Bengaluru, Aug 30, 2016, DHNS: 2:07 IST
An artwork by participant, Deepikah R Bhardwaj, questioning the limitationswomen pose on themselves and other women.
Bringing art into the discourse on gender identity and feminism, Goethe-Institut and Sandbox Collective will be hosting the second-edition of ‘Gender Bender’, a two-day fest on September 3 and 4.

Co-curated by feminist magazine, ‘The Ladies Finger’, the performances will interpret gender and its interaction with society through various mediums like puppetry, theatre, installations, movement and mixed media illustrations.

“Last year, when a lot of discussion on gay rights and Section 377 (unnatural offences) was happening, Goethe-Institut suggested that we curate a fest on the theme of gender,” said Charu Mittal from Sandbox Collective.

For this year’s fest, 100 entries have been received, of which 12 were shortlisted by an independent panel of filmmaker Paromita Vohra, actor Kirtana Kumar, activist Gautam Bhan and scholar Anmol Vellaniin June. Each team or solo performer was given a grant of Rs 30,000 as support.

One of the performers is Padmini Ray Murray, an academic at the Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology, who will bring to life significant women from the history of the city like courtesan Bangalore Nagarathnamma and a doctor and Kannada writer, Anupama Niranjana.

“A majority of the statues around the world and in India are of men. I wondered why shouldn’t we commemorate women who had a big role to play in our history,” Murray said, explaining the idea behind the installation. Instead of making temporary statues, she thought of using holographs, which can be viewed only when light falls on them in a certain angle to signify that there are pioneers amongst women too but they go unseen.

Morgan Campbell, a doctoral candidate, with Nayana Udayashankar, an environment lawyer, will be presenting their observations from interactions with the women bus conductors of Bengaluru.

“When I moved here in January, I noticed large number of women working as conductors and I began to wonder about the dynamics between them, the driver and the passengers.” Campbell and Udayashankar will be sharing stories of women they worked with, through video clips of interviews, voice recordings and interactive sessions. “They have several challenges, of course, like negotiating with maternity leave and breastfeeding their child while on an eight-hour shift. But there are positive stories too, of how passengers helped them learn bus routes and stop names when they were new to the city,” Campbell said. Other performers at the event include Aruna Ganesh Ram, Avril Stormy Unger, Deepikah R Bhardwaj, Diya Naidu, Kadak Collective, Kokila Bhattacharya, Neha Singh, Aagaaz, Varun Ram Kurtkoti and Varun Narain.

The performances will be held at Goethe-Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan on Saturday and Sunday from 5 pm onwards.

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