Exhibit Page Four / Sahodari Foundation Artists

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The artwork presented on this page was contributed by participants in the transgender empowerment arts program of the Sahodari Foundation. To learn more about the Sahodari Foundation, visit our sponsors page.

Artists included on this page: V. Rupakala, A. Rambha, and S. Ramesh; Silky Prema; P. Santhiya; Abinaya; and Saji Varriar.

An Unfinished Dream by V. Rupakala, A. Rambha, and S. Ramesh (India)

A woman / Transwoman is a victim of patriarchy. Her life is shaped by culture, superstitious beliefs and oppressive traditions that break her dreams into pieces. A woman / Transwoman is expected to sacrifice her life for others in the name of family pride, sacrifice and honour. This artwork by three transgender artists depict a woman / transwoman's life as an oppressed victim of partriarchy. 

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V. Rambha is a transwoman who is unemployed, but is supported by donations from people and rations that she receives from the government and NGOs. She is 45 years old and enjoys doing Tiktok videos. The artwork is the first time she touched a paintbrush and a canvas. She lives in Chennai.

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S. Ramesh is a transman who works as a bike mechanic. He ran away from his family due to their threat and negligence and began to live with his transgender friends. He is 28 years old and lives in Chennai. He has never painted a picture and is excited about his first painting.

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A. Rupakala is a transwoman who sells rice bags in a cart. She also picks up temporary jobs as a cook to support her livelihood. She is 40 years old and lives in Chennai. She enjoys dancing and traveling. Art has been something she always saw in movies and temples.

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Cooking Guru by Silky Prema (India)

This artwork is a celebration of the many cooking experts from the transgender community who live in Coimbatore. Transgender chefs are famous in the district of Coimbatore in the state of Tamilnadu in India for their amazing mouthwatering Biriyanis and several other recipes. They can cook from 2000 kg and 4000 kgs of food at one go. 

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Silky Prema is a singer, actor and a painter who was born and lives in Coimbatore city Tamilnadu, India. She rarely paints and when she does that, it is always subjective and that is about the transgender community she grew up with.

She has attended several art workshops from Sahodari Foundation (India) and she participated in many group shows.

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Queer Faces by P. Santhiya (India)

P. Sandhiya celebrates Queer and Trans Faces through her spontaneous artwork. Transgender faces aren't one, we are many like the hues of the rainbow. We have existed always and will always be here. We belong everywhere and we celebrate our lives. 

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P. Santhiya is a social worker and a painter who loves art. She uses a lot of colours and creates art that is close to her life and experiences. She has attended several art workshops in Sahodari Foundation (India) and has participated in a number of group shows.

Her favourite subjects are nature and trees. P. Santhiya lives in Chennai.

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I Need You by Abinaya (India)

'I need you' is an artwork by artist, dancer and transgender woman Abinaya. This artwork was created during an art making workshop organised by Kalki Subramaniam and Sahodari Foundation. This painting was one of the very first artworks created by the artist.

'I need you' is the artist's yearning for social acceptance and protection in the society. She feels that rather than discriminating transgender people, cis men and cis women should protect us. She expressed inclusiveness through this work of art.

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Abinaya was a dancer, henna artist and a painter. Art came naturally to her through dance and design. She was a trained Bharatnatyam dancer and has done a number of stage shows. Her introduction to painting came through Sahodari Foundation's workshops and she was one of the brilliant artists in the organization whose art was expressive and beautiful. She painted artworks that spoke about her own life, its joy and pain and her design skills. Abinaya participated in several art exhibitions and also painted murals in the 'Walls of Kindness' project of Sahodari Foundation. Abinaya died in 2020, her cause of death is presumed to be suicide.

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Born Trans - Born This Way by Saji Varriar (India)

Transgender people are not made, they do not choose their lives. They are born this way and humans need to accept us as we are. We are as normal and as sane as every human on earth is. Our lives matter, Transgender lives matter.

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Saji Varriar is an artist, dancer from Kerala, India. She is known for her artistic skills and has acted in number plays, dance shows and has painted many acrylic paintings, She has participated in many group art shows and has received much appreciation. She has been invited for artist residency workshop by Lalit Kala Academy of Kerala in 2019. Saji lives in Trivandrum, the capital of Kerala State.

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