The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy opens with the protagonist Anjum, a hijra who has set up her own community in a graveyard in Delhi as a mode of survival and resistance from the broader conformist and violent society. When Anjum is born as an intersex infant, her mother interrogates the binary gendered Urdu language as a means to name and define her child, wondering ‘is it possible to live outside of language?’
Taking this story as a jumping off point, the exhibition and its associated programming is an investigation and reflection of both the limitations and possibilities of language as a means to define, explain and express diverse genders and sexualities across time and space. Featuring new commissions by artists Fiza Khatri, Lucas Odahara, The Many Headed Hydra, Omer Wasim and Vassilieia Stylianidou, the works address the complex burden and inheritance of language in our daily lives as it narrows our ability to express even while encouraging us to explore new modes of expression and writing to explain our circumstances and lives.
The exhibition is complemented by a series of public programs including readings, performances and talks by Momina Masood, Asad Alvi, Fazal Rizvi, Mehlab Jameel and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, amongst others, as well as private workshops targeted towards emerging writers and artists. Even though a sober and timely reflection on the challenges and erasure of diverse voices in our society, this project is also a celebration of solidarity and community in order to chart new futures.
The exhibition opens on Thursday, August 22, 4 – 8 PM and runs through September 24.
Public programming details:
Monday, August 26, 5.30 - 7 PM
Conversation and readings with Fiza Khatri, Lucas Odahara & Vassiliea Stylianidou; performance by Sameena Nazeer
As part of the ongoing exhibition Is It Possible to Live Outside of Language? please join us on Monday, 26 August, 5.30 - 7 PM at IVS Gallery for a conversation with artists Fiza Khatri, Lucas Odahara and Vassiliea Stylianidou. In keeping with theme, the event will feature opportunities to listen, read along and engage with the complex entanglements and questions embedded in the work. Sameena Nazeer, who contributed to Odahara's commissioned work will also perform as part of the program.
Thursday,August 29, 5.30 – 7 PM
An evening of performative readings of complex and personal stories of memory, desire and family by Fazal Rizvi, Momina Masood and Asad Alvi.
will read the text-visual work These Are Not Love Letters (On Separation) a poignant and intimate meditation on the artist’s relationship between his mother and himself tracing the contours of their relationship through complex entanglements of language, gender and sexuality.
Momina Masood’s Zohra
; Or How I Learned to Love and Write the Body is a meditation on the limitations and possibilities of language in articulating the trappings of identity, desire, and belonging. This creative nonfiction essay, which belongs to a developing project on desire, and a continuation of a previous publication, Of Dark Rooms and Foreign Languages, reflects on moments when language fails, and the creative potential of these moments of failure to imagine and articulate marginalized loves and lives.
will read from his Urdu-language short story, Nani ka Kamra. Tracing a boy's relationship with the room in which his grandmother died, the story is a meditation on space, trauma, and the powers of mourning, as experienced by the protagonist of the story.
Friday, September 20 5-7 PM
Writing, Zines and Publishing
Conversation with the Many Headed Hydra/local collaborators
Presentation by Omer Wasim
Saturday, September 21, 5.30 - 7 PM
Language, Law and State
Conversation with Mehlab Jameel (other panelists TBC)
Monday, September 23, 5-7 PM
Language for a Revolution Yet to Come
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto on practice and performance
The exhibition and its associated programming is curated by Aziz Sohail
and commissioned by the Goethe-Institut Pakistan.
Programming and logistical support is provided by the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture and Vasl Artists Association.
Exhibition Opening: 22nd August 2019 4pm-8pm.
Gallery Timings: 11am-7pm (Closed on Sundays).