BENGALURU : Gender Bender, a city-based festival that has been providing different and new angles to the gender discourse, is coming back with its fourth edition in August, and is now open for submissions. With June 5 as the deadline, Debosmita Dam, from Sandbox Collective, that organises the festival along with the Goethe Institut, says that they are once again on the lookout for new and
exciting means of expression.
The first edition of the festival was in 2015, and since then, the festival has been recognised as a space where art is used as a medium to encourage people to talk everything gender. Documentary films, paintings, installations and theatre are some of the media used to re-imagine the ever-changing concept of gender, Debosmita tells us, adding that a jury is being formed at the moment, who will be responsible for picking projects that will be performed at the festival in August. The creators of these projects are then offered a grant to spread their work, and some of the projects have also gone on to become full-length performances.
Talking about her experience at Gender Bender 2017, Arunima Bose, an artist and illustrator, says, “My work was called ‘In Bloom – Playing with Pleasure’. I created 3D vaginas that people could touch and play with using materials easily available at home. The idea was to explore the playful side of sexuality, the side that is considered taboo or not highlighted in the face of all the negativity that is attached to anything sexual. I wanted to show people that owning one’s sexuality and expressing it is healthy, and found that this tolerant space was great for meeting and interacting with various people.”
Debosmita says that with festivals like these, it is often assumed that the focus will be just on the LGBTQI community, but gender, she says, is a much wider subject than that. “We don’t follow a particular theme at the editions because we want people to come up with new, innovative and creative ways to explore gender,” she says. To apply, get on the Sandbox Collective’s website and fill out the application before June 5.
Some projects from Gender Bender that are being performed across the country:
Lady Anandi by Anuja Ghosalkar:
A full-length performance that has performed across Bengaluru, Mumbai, Pune and Delhi, and also internationally, in Germany and Sweden.
Dekho Magar Pyar Se by Vikrant Dhote:
Full-length performance that has been performed at the Kala Ghoda Arts festival, and across Mumbai and Bengaluru.
Brief History of your Hair by Deepika Arwind: Post Gender Bender, this work received a grant from IFA and the New Voices Theatre Project. Premiered in Bengaluru in March 2016.
Swachhandacharinee by Madhusree Basu:
Her project has been performed at several locations across Chennai, and will be performing at festivals such as the Thirupatthur Theater Festival.