Rest your thoughts here
Rest Your Thoughts Here: The Gender Chronicles is an ongoing repository of reflections on gender and sexuality. The project was conceived by Sandbox Collective, curated by interdisciplinary artist Deepikah Bharadwaj and supported by Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan, Bangalore.
2021 started with the idea of notebooks and artbooks making their way to people’s homes. Boxes with books, stickers and stationery that people used to create their art, jot down their thoughts, sometimes rant and rave, sometimes reflect and introspect on everything that constituted gender stories.
Many contributors poured their heart out to the gender journals that went around town collecting little nuggets of our collective experiences.
Here we are presenting a curated and collected gender journal, a chronicle of sorts.
Sheena Khalid is a theatre director, writer and actor based in Mumbai. She is a founding member of the theatre company, Patchworks Ensemble. She is a story-teller with Kommune, where she also works part-time. Personally speaking, she continues to deepen her exploration into performances and stories about and by women. She strives to create content that is relevant, engaging and humorous.
Sheena Khalid, had conversations with a range of people about their experiences with gender while growing up, at work, culturally, in the modern day and more. A few voices were also collected by other members of the Sandbox team
Response from Nimi Ravindran from Sandbox Collective: We are a women's led arts collective, and our work focuses largely on gender issues. In March 2020 when we went into a lockdown, we realised how even the pandemic played out differently for different genders. Internationally we heard that domestic violence escalated, our friends in the theatre were fund raising for transgender people and sex workers who had no way of coping with with a calamity. It was a testing time for women and gender minorities, we at Sandbox wanted to do something that involved something tangible, we remembered how we passed chits in class in school (and go into trouble with teachers) and decided to pass these journals around town for people to write/draw/paint/ their gender stories. And interdisciplinary artist Deepikah Bharadwaj was our immediate choice to collaborate with us and curate this project.
Response from Deepikah: Building on that idea, we named the project Rest your thoughts here (RYTH): The Gender Chronicles. Not a very convenient name, but we wanted to invite people to just take a breath and put down their thoughts in the journals. There was no expectation or benchmark, even a small note or scribble was welcome. We sprinkled the journals with some prompts like- "emotional achaar (pickle)" , "sometimes I wonder" etc. amongst other arbid collages to break the formidableness of a blank page. We wanted to create a safe space through the RYTH boxes which travelled the town carrying the journals, art supplies, markers, some candy, etc
How was the idea for The Gender Chronicles born?
It's a little difficult to say the exact number. Many people wrote multiple entries, anonymously. Sometimes the journals passed through a house party and everyone wrote in it. There were about 7 of these that circulated in different parts of the city. We tried our best for the journals to not be an echo chamber for only the most popular narratives around gender and sexuality. The lockdowns were a deterrent in these books travelling beyond the urban youth population, but, we did manage to get a few varied perspectives.
We did an online collaborative event using a MIRO (whiteboard) board where people contributed live. Anecdotes spoke to other anecdotes, it was a beautiful and fulfilling to experience this. How much people would love to share their thoughts and life if they only got the space to do it.
How many people participated? And, are they from different walks of life and social backgrounds?
Yes. We hope this will be an ongoing project that will, in its next phase, be a hybrid version and encompass both a physical as well as an online version. The physical exhibition will take place next year and we will be open to online submissions that could include anything from art, design, text, video, audio etc.
Is it going to be a recurring exhibition?
More about project RYTH
About the Curator
Deepikah is an interdisciplinary artist based in Bangalore, India. Trained in Communication design from Delhi, she uses painting and installation art to express issues related to gender, self-worth, and perception. Her project “Trial Room” tackles body dysmorphia and social conditioning, and was exhibited at Gender Bender 2018 and then at The Irregulars Art Fair in 2019. Her online exhibit, “SarvSatvikRashtra- Atmanirbhar2Q48'' launched in January 2021 as a part of a virtual residency - Fissure by Pollinator. She is currently curating a gender journal project for Sandbox collective called Rest Your Thought Here.