Photo festival brings transgender voices to commoners

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New Delhi, July 15 (IANS) Dubbed as an initiative that seeks to bring powerful art to the people and go beyond the “art-literate circles”, a photography festival “opens minds about the transgender community” within India as well as globally, says curator Manik Katyal.

Using multimedia, live shows and print, the “Sandesh” travelling festival by The Kitab collective celebrates the beauty and diversity of the transgender community.

Some of the 23 photobooks on display are “Christopher Street” by Mark Seliger, “BOI: Song of Wanderer” by Niztan Krimsky, “Go Girl” by Fiona Clark and “OUT: Transformistas of Havana” by Eric Politzer.

Despite the surge in media attention and growing acceptance of transgender identities, Katyal believes that systemic and social-cultural barriers still remain firm along with the lack of sensitivity.

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Talking about how “Sandesh” was conceptualised, he told IANS, “There is a massive lack of awareness about transgender people. After deep research — spanning over 3.5 months starting December last year — we curated the festival.”

The Kitab collective which brings “experimental photography and innovative bookmaking practices to new audiences around the country”, the festival is said to be a “poignant display of the day-to-day realities of life as a transgender”.

Asserting that there was a need to move beyond the same audience, Katyal said the festival aims to breach the gatekeeping of photography and democratise it.

The five-day festival concluded in Chandigarh on Sunday with Dehradun as its first stop in April.

–IANS

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