Thu, 19 Sep, 2019

Colours of freedom in the skies

‘Freedom is in the Air’, an art-event held by Museum of Goa seeks to showcase works of art related to the issues faced by LGBTQ community

10th November 2018, 03:35 Hrs

Charudutta Panigrahi 

There is palpable freedom in the air and more so when the air is of  Goa. Freedom is what freedom does. It is not only our fellow LGBTQs  (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) who smell ‘clear air’ all  around but so do all of us. Discrimination against a few  translates to discrimination against all. A blot of negativity never  remains tiny, rather it smudges and diffuses so deep that discrimination  almost becomes mainstream. That’s when a deep-seated stigma runs  through the veins of the society. And yet we think we are ‘free’. What a paradox! You don’t need an act of  parliament to provide privacy and the rights thereof. But one actually  needs the act to drive a norm which our society understands formally and  gets bound by. And this could reverse the stigma, I am sure.  

Sharada Kerkar, a bright, young social worker and budding art  entrepreneur is convinced that the Supreme Court’s version ‘history owes  apology to LGBT’ should be complimented with more avenues to celebrate  the togetherness of LGBTQs. I couldn’t have agreed more with her.  

In a landmark verdict, the Supreme Court in September 2018 scrapped  the controversial Section 377, a 158-year-old colonial law on consensual  gay sex. The Supreme Court reversed its own decision and opined that  Section 377 is irrational and arbitrary - ‘LGBT Community has same  rights as of any ordinary citizen. Respect for individual choice is the  essence of liberty; LGBT community possesses equal rights under the  constitution. Criminalising gay sex is irrational and indefensible.’  

Goa is synonymous with soul soaring and is the most appropriate  pulpit to rejoice, engage and ventilate years of hinged existence. It’s  time to fly. Museum of Goa (MoG) is organising an event titled ‘freedom  is in the air’ to give a nod to solidarity of LGBTQs through creativity,  art and fellowship. Scheduled for Nov 10, the jamboree aims to dispel our myopia about diversity in  nuances and proclivities. Humans are not machines from batch production.  Why should we expect ‘standardisation’? If we always look for  standardisation then why do we assume ourselves to be ‘thinking’  animals? And if we think, why can’t we value differences? Many questions  and much introspection! But the time has come for the joyous leap in  Goa air, for the unhindered smile and ‘finding feet’ after years of  identity crisis. The gala is open to all artists - of any form of visual arts, who would  assemble to create and showcase their work in response to the issues  faced by LGBTQ community and in line with the recent Supreme Court  verdict or anything allied to the idea of freedom and equality.  

The event will include paintings by, for and of the LGBTQs, public  art installations,  deliberations by senior activists from various sectors, music, dance,  merry making, and the release of India’s first ever ‘white paper’ on  livelihoods of LGBTQs. The ‘white paper’ is scripted by ‘Goa Livelihoods  Forum’ which is a livelihoods-specialised think tank of Goa working  under the aegis of FIDR, a reputed knowledge management institution.  

It would not be an exaggeration to state that ‘Freedom is in the  air’ is a rare endeavour to look at a social issue through the lens of  art, culture and creativity. I have encountered instances where the  effectiveness of art to demystify and unclutter a social malaise is been  grossly underestimated. Art is not for art’s sake. Art has for the sake  of humanity. Museum of Goa (MOG) has set up a lab where art could help  overcome mean-spiritedness. Other states and the museums of the world  would soon replicate the model and I hope they do so.  

We often neglect the finest nuance of humanity (i.e. art in its  varied forms) and its capacity to bring succour to humanity. Why do we  choose to be unwise? And why do we prefer to suffer?  

There is something in Goa’s air which rekindles seamless abundance  of life and its joy. There is certainly freedom in the air. One can see  the rainbow flag (also known as the gay pride flag or LGBT pride flag  fluttering out of your window. It is the symbol of LGBT pride and LGBT  social movement. MOG, in collaboration with ‘The Humsafar Trust’ and  ‘Goa Livelihoods Forum’ will create a flying installation, a curated  exhibition of artists from across the country and seminar by eminent  artists and art activists.  

India is waiting for the congregation and huddle on November 10 at MOG. MOG in Konkani means ‘love’!  

Could it have been any closer?  

Mhaka Goemcho mog aasa!  

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