Contributed By: Bhavna Saxena
Edited By: J K Varshika
They say that art is the most potent form of magic that there is. IIM Bangalore witnessed the truth in these words during Eximius 2018, when Quest, the society of IIM Bangalore students working towards inclusion of all diversity, hosted members from The Aravani Art Project at campus.
The Art of Inclusion was a painting workshop held by Quest in collaboration with The Aravani Art Project where participants spent a couple of hours soaking in the inspiring story of the transgender community in Bangalore and painting their heartfelt messages to the transgender community on postcards. The Aravani Art project is an art collective based out of Bangalore where diverse women artists identifying themselves across the spectrum of womanhood as transgender women, gender fluid women and cis-gender women come together to create art with a purpose.
The workshop was a chance for IIM Bangalore to become a platform for the voice of the transgender community, which is often lost or ignored and a chance for all participants to be exposed to a first-hand narrative of the struggles of being a transgender person in India. Shanthi Sonu from the art project narrated her journey from being born a male to accepting her transgender inclinations and embracing her womanhood as an adult. “I was born with a male body, but in my heart I knew I wanted to be a girl. I was always interested in playing with girls, dressing up like girls, I would often get my nails painted. I remember being scolded by a well wishing uncle when I posed not like a boy, but a girl in a family picture”, said the artist and documentarian. She explained the term ‘transgender’ and the various transgender communities and practices prevalent across India.
The workshop received an overwhelming response and was an avenue for participants to be sensitized toward the transgender community, interact with them in person and use art as their medium to convey their messages. The three best postcard messages were presented with a token of appreciation by Quest on behalf of The Aravani Art Project and IIM Bangalore. “It was an inspiring experience to listen to one of the unheard voices in India and maybe across the globe. Transgender people have been marginalised for so long now and most of us are totally unaware of the constant hardships that they have to face in order to just exist in a world that denies them basic human rights and forces them into begging at traffic signals”, said a student who had attended the workshop and had felt the impact of the awareness that had come across that day. But its not just through thes kind of workshops but also in everyday world where we can try to make a difference, practice ‘The Art of Inclusion’.