PhotoKTM4 invites Aziz Sohail (Pakistan), Sumitra Sunder (India), and Diwas Raja Kc (Nepal) to bring together practitioners from across South Asia to open up new perspectives on queer art practice and posit them in a regional archive that serves as a site of collectivity, speculation, and creation. Through this collaboration, we project queerness as a category that is faithless to borders and boundaries. During this year-long initiative, writers, artists, and cultural practitioners will be invited to describe and document the broader South Asian region queerly. Nepal Picture Library will home these impressions on an online platform dedicated to the project. As a launch event for this engagement, this panel invites the three conveners/curators to present their work as well as their visions for the coming year.
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Sumitra is a curator based in Bangalore, India. She is a queer woman and has been involved in the organization and implementation of some initiatives in Bangalore, India. Between 2012 and 2015 she was closely involved with the annual Namma Pride festivities in the city and In 2017, worked closely with a filmmaker T Jayashree to set up the beginnings of QAMRA – a Queer Archive for Memory, reflection and Activism. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Art History (2007) and a Master of Arts degree in Museology (2010). She has also spent 7 years pursuing a doctoral degree in Art History, beginning in 2012. A recipient of multiple awards from the Kochi Biennale Foundation, the Curatorial Intensive South Asia for curatorial work, as well as a 5-year fellowship to pursue doctoral research in Curating Contemporary art, her interests are in archival work and following a rather unorthodox path.
Aziz Sohail is an art curator, writer and researcher, who has presented his work in the USA, Europe, South Asia and the Middle East. He has been a curator-in-residence at The New Art Gallery Walsall, England (2015) and the Nepal Picture Library (2019) and was part of the Curatorial Intensive South Asia 2018 program at Khoj in New Delhi and the Young Curators Academy in Herbstsalon 2019 at Maxim Gorki Theater. He has worked with organizations such as the British Council and the Lahore Biennale Foundation to build new cultural initiatives and spaces. As a South Asia Fellow at Cornell University in 2017, he began a long term project building an archive of cultural and visual production in Karachi from the 1990s through today which led to an exhibition-symposium at the Sharjah Art Foundation (2019).
Sohail’s curatorial practice is particularly invested in promoting under-researched histories and building interdisciplinary connections between art, history, archive, fiction, theory and biography. His current research focus is a meditation on the longue-duree intersections of sexuality and colonialism with migration, law and identity, particularly for individuals from the Global South as they navigate empire(s) and its afterlives. His ongoing curatorial publishing platform, SCROLL, initiates exhibitions in the form of print by bringing together diverse voices from across the Global South; future issues are being developed in collaboration with Colomboscope (2019, 2021) and Experimenter (2020). Sohail is currently an MFA Candidate in Art (Critical and Curatorial Studies) at University of California, Irvine, supported by a fellowship from the Asian Cultural Council.
Diwas Raja Kc is currently the Head of Research & Archives at Nepal Picture Library, where his work has focused on engendering a research-based approach to art, archival and curatorial practice. His curatorial show and subsequent photobook Dalit: A Quest for Dignity (2016) explored ways of witnessing Dalit pasts in Nepal. His co-curated exhibition The Public Life of Women (2018) monumentalized feminist pasts in Nepal as an intervention in public memory. He also works as a documentary film editor.