Aravani Art Project is a trans-women and cis-women led art collective.”While the visibility of transgender people, gender non-confirming people and folks from the queer community is increasing in popular culture and daily life, they still face everyday discrimination, stigma and systemic inequality. With a mission of attempting to reduce this in society, we ARAVANI ART PROJECT bring about change in the way the society views the LGBTQIA+ community.”, says the Aravani Art Project members.
Through their creative art which is colorful in its expression, they use visual arts and social participation to broaden their horizon. In a span of about six years they are visible everywhere right from Mahim in Mumbai and KR market in Bengaluru to Lodhi Colony in Delhi and Sonagachi in Kolkata. The base idea is to be able to love openly and freely, to float in an ocean of emotions and that is reflected in their art as well.
We spend so much time chasing an idea that we ignore what’s in front of us. Love opens a whole new way of looking at things. Friendship is the most sacred form of love. Love between two men or two women is sacred. Our decision to love and whom to love is an act of freedom, and it is in this freedom that we thrive and bloom. Similarly, queer friendship and love give the reassurance of love with no condition, boundaries, gender and colour. Queer friendship makes love real, it instills a deep and resonant sense of hope, that we can change the world because look at how we’ve changed ourselves and each other.
In an interview with Hindustan Times, they quoted, “Although our work depends heavily on community-based art grants, commissioned projects and workshops that improve the skill of the people from the community, we are in complete distraught and in disbelief of the happenings around us. We are at an interesting end and are hoping to stem new beginnings to keep life going. We have come a long way in terms of our journey, and it has been a bitter- sweet symphony.” They added, “Our work started as an expression and experiment using art and friendship as social justice activism. We started re-claiming spaces as cis- women, trans-women/men and the queer people to make a point. While we reclaimed it using art as a tool, our audiences were quite diverse, participative and inquired about everything we were doing.”
“We create safe spaces for the transgender community through art. We examine their spaces of innovation, the places of their history and create room to learn by transforming this knowledge into public art. The streets are a particularly important place to do our work, as it is in these public spaces where transgender identifying people face violence, harassment, social negligence and pressure. Our creative collective seeks to respond to these experiences by creating spaces that instead encourage exchange, discussion, openness, and debate surrounding gender identities.”
Our best wishes are with all the people of the Aravani Art Project. They inspire us in ways more than one and we would like for them to grow in leaps and bounds.