Artists Explore Gender Inequality at Workshop in Kochi

Gender Inequality

Kochi: Kochi is the perfect amalgamation of artistic sensibilities where artists look at their medium as an agent of social change by raising fundamental questions and challenging the conventional thinking, said Robert G Burgess, American Consul General.

The envoy was speaking at the valedictory of the ‘Amplified Voice Programme’, an educational series of workshops organised by American Arts Incubator, an initiative of the US Department of State and ZERO1 in partnership with Kochi Biennale Foundation (KBF) and Sacred Heart College, Thevara at Pepper House. The focus of the three-week sound workshop was ‘Gender Equality.’

“In arts, we raise fundamental questions and challenge the way we think and they enable us to look at issues from a different perspective. Besides, the endeavour of this sort also helps forge the ties between the United States and India,” said Burgess.

Four teams comprising 17 members came up with their interesting prototypes which gave prime importance to audios to tackle gender-related issues. US- based sound artist Laura Wright, who led the workshops, said that she decided to take ‘Gender Equality’ as the theme after participating in the Women’s Day march at Seattle.

‘Axia’, an interesting prototype developed by one of the teams, emphasized the art of listening and conversation through a revolving globe placed in a flat triangle, with three microphones at its corners. The team members said it can be set up at public places, offering opportunities to men, women and gender minorities alike to speak out their woes which usually go unheard as they do not have anybody to listen to.

‘Bindu’, another prototype, laid stress on breaking the stereotypes by recording the daily lives of three women who chose to smash the barriers by venturing into those uncharted fields confined to men. Selin, one among them, works at a crematorium in Kochi, while Rekha is a fisherwoman and Jyothsana Padmanabhan is undergoing training to become a Hindu priestess. The team also intends to take the prototype to schools to tell children how to break the stereotypes.

Yet another team travelled with their ‘Secret bag’ with microphones attached, which will record the issues of transgenders. This will convey those issues which they shy away from communicating to the world, and make the society aware of their issues. The last team spoke about gender inequality by moves on a chess board through audio recordings.

Manju Sara Rajan, CEO, Kochi Biennale Foundation, also attended the function.