Every 12 years, Kumbh Mela is the harbinger of purity for devotees who visit the festival to purge themselves off their sins. But this time round, the event has evolved into an example of gender inclusivity, the first of hopefully many others. Held at Prayagraj, Kumbh witnessed and celebrated participation from the transgender community for the first time, and has now become a stage for them to exhibit their art.
Over 25 artists transformed two acres of a barren land into a bustling art village, showcasing their photographs, installations, sculptures, and paintings. With the theme of sexual ambivalence permeating through their art, the artists were excited to display their skills to an international audience, The Hindu reported.
“Art isn’t only about the canvas or gallery. It’s about having the freedom and audacity to make a statement, to invent or cause a reaction,” Sanjana Patil, a transgender artist from Nashik told the newspaper.
Amid cultural hotspots at the Kumbh, such as Kala Gram, the Kinnart Village surely made a statement with waste-to-art displays and timelines on the inception of transgenders through a series of paintings. The idea for the festival came from Mumbai-based photographer Punit Reddy. After he travelled to Ujjain to understand the community, the idea of including the artworks by the members of the trans community was realised with the help of trans activist Laxmi Narayan Tripathi.
The Kinnart Village may be a small step in the way to gaining recognition and acceptance from the society, but for the artists, it comes as a way to reclaim their rights that have been denied to them in the past.