Bengaluru to Host First-Of-Its-Kind Performing Arts Festival for the Transgender Community


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A performing arts festival for transgender people will be organised at the National Gallery for Modern Arts, Bengaluru from July 29 to 31. The International Transgender Arts Festival (TITAF) aims to feature the work of people from the transgender community across the country and to showcase their talent in the fields of music, classical dance, spoken word poetry, film, theatre, etc. The fest has been conceptualised by Srivatsa Shandilya, founder of the International Arts and Cultural Foundation, a non-profit organization that aims to help in promoting traditional arts and culture.

The festival will reach out to a large chunk of the community, giving them a platform that might have once been denied to them. It will not just be a platform for them to perform, but also to promote the welfare of transgender people.

Transgender

Picture for representation only. Source: ibtimes

“Through the festival, I am trying to prove that art has no gender. The endeavour is to offer equal opportunities to everyone from all walks of life, and in turn help preserve local Indian performing arts,” he told Bangalore Mirror. The festival is being referred to as “India’s first ever international performing arts festival by artistes from the transgender community”.

Naanu Avanalla…Avalu (I am not ‘he’, I am ), a National Award winning movie directed by B. S. Lingadevaru will be screened at the festival. Some of the performers include a Mohiniattam dancer from Singapore named Maalika Ganesh Panicker, Varsha Antony who is a Bharatanatyam dancer from Malaysia, and Manjamma from a transgender- devdasi community in Karnataka.

“The aharya (costume and make-up), the theatricality of these arts, and the suspension of belief they demand have made it a comfortable space for transgenders to inhabit. If you notice even on the streets, the hijra community is performative,” dancer Anita Ratnam told The Times of India. “The world is neatly structured for men and women. Where do I fit in?” added a Bharatanatyam dancer who is also one of the participants.

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