Photography and curation by Raisa Kabir.
Uncover the intrinsic movements between space, objects, and dress, in relation to how queer presenting brown bodies are read and perceived, in context to public/private space, and the affect of these dimensions upon the queer brown body and it’s own gaze.
South Asian Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered or Queer persons, it can be argued, are only read as queer in relation to the space they occupy, or who they are next to. Often because of the Eurocentric projection of LGBTQ identity, South Asian queer persons are rendered invisible. In (hetero)public space, layers of sexuality and the codes of queerness in relation to ethnicity, race and gender, can be lost or erased and often are reliant on queer space to “confirm” their authenticity.
“And they looked at us both on the street, holding hands, they stopped and the car stalled, while we waited to cross. Angrily paused, the driver settled her eyes on me, and flashed disdain before driving off. My queerness was erased, because you passed as a teenage boy, or she chose not to see you as a woman. And it was me who was shamed, who was shamed for holding a white boy’s hand in public, shamed for being a brown girl with a white boy. I was angry for being made to feel small (again), angry that our queerness was taken away from us, and angry for having to carry this gender wrapped inside of me, painted such a shade of Asian.”
This work is a series of visual essays by artist and writer Raisa Kabir. It asks different self identified South Asian LBTQ women, and trans/genderqueer persons, where do they feel the most visible, or safe to be LBTQ and South Asian simultaneously? Does such a space exist, where is it located? If not - can it be created and re-imagined? How do South Asian queer ID persons see themselves reflected in these spaces?
These initial questions sparked the concepts to create the photographic essays, and were a working collaboration between the participants and the artist, Raisa Kabir, who then became the facilitator to create and document these spatial interactions.
The photographs begin an enquiry into the construction of private/public space, utilizing dress, gender presentation and objects to hint at how race, gender and sexuality affect spaces and perceptions of the queer racialised self.
A free round table discussion on the 27th April / 2pm will invite creative practitioners, community activists, artists and academics to discuss the themes explored in the exhibition.