Festival Gender Bender 2017

Gender Bender 2017 Logo © Sandbox Collective

Sat, 09.09.2017 -
Sun, 10.09.2017

Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan Bangalore

716, CMH Road
Indiranagar 1st Stage

Presented in association with Sandbox Collective
Co-curated by The Ladies Finger

After the overwhelming response from artists and the public to the earlier editions, we present Gender Bender 2017 together with Sandbox Collective. The Ladies Finger is back onboard to co-curate this year's Festival. The third edition of Gender Bender will be presented on 9 & 10.9.2017 at the Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan Bangalore.

For timings and other details, see the following schedule:
Gender Bender 2017

Gender Bender invites artists and others working in the field of the arts to send entries for projects that take a fresh, innovative and new look at notions of gender or approach questions or issues of gender with ingenuity and imagination.

This year we received over 120 entries, which were examined by an independent panel comprising Sameera Iyengar (Theatre person and co-founder of Junoon), Sadanand Menon (Arts writer, editor, critic), Jasmeen Patheja (Artist, activist, founder of Blank Noise) and A. Mangai aka Padma Venkataraman (Theatre artist, activist, academic) that selected the 10 finalists for Gender Bender:

We congratulate:

Aarthi Murali © Aarthi Murali Aarathi Murali
Her project ‘Amma is in Town’, is a lyric essay that looks at how choices about love and marriage strains a daughter’s relationship with her mother. It traces a day in their lives, and a narrative is built around the things they say and do in the span of a day. There’s drama in their anxieties, and in the act of writing the narrator looks for some kind of liberation. 

Arunima Bose © Arunima Bose Arunima Bose
This project is an interactive installation, inviting the audience to play, touch, experience & engage the tactile senses with the pleasure of simple touch - the touch of lace against your skin, the feeling of hair between your fingers, the sensation of mud under your nails. It aims to move away from the shame/taboo attached to women who touch themselves, or are desirous of the same, but stop because they do not wish to be labeled as bad women. And aims to move towards a journey of accepting one's self despite what is dictated by social norm. 

Elisabeth Pfahl © Elisabeth Pfahl Elisabeth Pfahl 
In the wake of a double mastectomy, Elisabeth's ‘mala’ (Hindi word for 'chain') of 27 bras explores the dynamics of human emotion that steer one from past, to in-betweenness and into a new future. It is a celebration of the power and resilience of each person's unique human architecture.  Each of these bras on the mala is embroidered with words that express opposing states of ‘humanness’. Viewers are invited to write and hang their own tags of personally vital and opposing emotions onto the installation.

Fields of View
The project is a physical multi-player game that will provide the audience a firsthand, immersive experience of the intersecting dimensions of gender, caste, and class; how these dimensions frame our view of the world; and how intricately they are bound. The game is modelled on real-life research and data.

Fields of View © Fields of View

Himani Pant © Himani Pant Himani Pant
This devised production aims to investigate the etymology of the word ‘hysteria’ to constantly arrive at what it stands for in the modern time.' Women of various age groups and countries were interviewed through questionnaires and telephonic interviews. Most of the women interviewed and even the men associated with the project found the title ‘Hysterical Hysteria’ explanatory of the comedy in the classification and diagnosis of this disease.

Ibtisam Tasnim © Ibtisam Tasnim Ibtisam Tasnim 
Her project for Gender Bender involves a fine art  painting where she explores and presents the lives of women and members of the LGBTQ community in the Middle Eastern society and culture. The piece strives to create and present a visual comparison between the past and the contemporary world; sparking conversations around the progression surrounding the definitions of "culture" and "feminism".

Madhusree Basu © Madhusree Basu Madhushree Basu  
Her project is a story-telling based on Malayalam poet Vayalar Ramavarma’s poem “Thadaka” and is called Swachhandacharinee. Vayalar’s beautiful poetic portrayal reclaims Thadaka as a Dravida princess, against the popular notion of her being a demoness, and brings in explicit socio-political, feminist, neo-mythological nuances to this story. 

Shilpa Mudbi Kothakota © Shilpa Mudbi Kothakota Shilpa Mudbi Kothakota
Yellammanaata is a ritualistic overnight play hosted mostly during festivals by lower cast Hindus around most parts  of Hyderabad, Karnataka and the Southern Maharashtra. The play is performed mainly by Jogathis, who are the transgender disciples of Saundatti Yellamma. It is also an unwritten rule that the role of Yellamma in a Yellammanatta, if not all characters has to be enacted by a Jogathi.
In an attempt to portray ‘Yellamma’ and ‘Dasappa’, Siddhanth and Shilpa embarked on yet another journey. Siddhanth and Shilpa have built a troupe (Mela) that actualizes the play. Swapnil and Teenasai are two new protégées to join this folk experiment.

Sreecheta Das © Sreecheta Das Sreecheta Das
Having grown up in Calcutta, Durga Puja was the biggest experience one could be a part of. But as a child, Sreechta did not know a single female artisan who worked on creating the idols. Her project is a short film on the one woman who silently broke into the male bastion and has brought about a quiet revolution in Kumartuli, the traditional potters’ colony in northern Kolkata: China Pal. More than two decades after she started off, even today she is the sole female entrepreneur in the entire artists’ colony. The film revolves around Pal’s journey thus far, her relationship with her family and her workers and her dreams.

Sukriti Sureka © Sukriti Sureka Sukriti Sureka
Sukriti's art installation is a small hutment, not unlike the many seen dotting the Indian rural scape. The walls are covered in paintings by women who are Madhubani painters by profession. It has been their primary source of livelihood, compensated by very little remuneration for the time and skill invested in it. Through this work, they take the traditional form to tell a modern tale of the issues faced by these women across various aspects of life.The paintings on the outside and inside of the huts tell a story, of how gender bias exists in our society in several forms.