THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Members of Queerala, a city-based LGBT group, feel that when it comes to romance, the mainstream media only look to heterosexuals. According to them, homosexual relationships are painted to be ‘driven by carnal desires’. To counter this, five artists—Jijo K, Nishad CA, Muhammed Zuhrabi, Anish and Revathy VK—have created a series of paintings and photographs, collectively titled Homomorphism, to depict same-sex romance.While other exhibitions have shown support for the LGBT—like Thiruvanan-thapuram-based artist, Reshma Thomas’ painting exhibition (last July) titled A is for Art—this is the first to display works explicitly focussing on same-sex romance.
In sharp contrast
Jijo, a 32-year-old research analyst who is also the lead artist and event coordinator, has put together a series of water colours and pencil-on-paper portraits of men. “Our society wants to sweep same-sex love under the carpet. And when they do discuss it, it takes a skewed form—hinting that it is an extension of sexual abuse,” says Jijo, who criticises the gay character in the recently-released Malayalam movie, Rockstar. He says it was just another comical portrayal of homosexuals as ‘buttocks grabbing effeminate men’. But the participants hope that the exhibition will start a dialogue, and maybe even change perceptions. Nishad CA, a Thiruvananthapuram Fine Arts College alumnus and lab technician, is showcasing 16 artworks—both pencil drawings and acrylic. His works mostly depict men in bed, wearing masks. “Due to the taboo surrounding same-sex romance, many individuals in our society are forced to lead a double life,” says Nishad, adding that the Fine Arts College was a homosexual-friendly campus. “A fellow student once painted a picture of a man with homosexual connotations and, to my surprise, the faculty encouraged him to paint what he felt. This made me realise that I don’t have to hide who I really am,” adds the 38-year-old.
Women in arms
Revathy VK, the only woman artist in the group, will be displaying a photo series depicting two women in a relationship, drifting apart. “Like falling in love, falling out of love is an equally powerful emotion, too, which very few artists are inclined to show,” says the 26-year-old upcoming author, who reveals that her work is a reflection of her own life and a recent breakup. From December 20-24. At Durbar Hall. Free entry.