Kalki, the two syllabled name which makes one pause in their feet, which commands respect and ushers people to act justly, dons this virtue graciously to the name of its beholder Ms.Kalki Subramaniam, the Activist, Artist, Writer, Entrepreneur, to put it simply someone who is one and many – someone who needs no introduction beyond her name. And consider yourself lucky if you’re here, cos I’ve filtered the noise from the interview and presented to you the essence of the talk.
Focusing with precision on where and how to use her anger, passion and strength Kalki took to Art as a reformist means to speak back against the society that brands trans people as “The Others”. Her works which are powerful breakers of binaries and stereotypes across different mediums of art reflect the artist herself, bold, strong and proving its existence. Asking her, how she realised that Art was “it” and how other artists could be sure to take it up as their full-time career, she made me realise that if Art chooses you then there’s no escape from it, it’d bundle you up one way or another owning you and helping you learn it’s language. She made it clear that there’s only one way of figuring out if Art is “it” for someone, which is to let Life and Art take you along its ride meanwhile you keep fairing your best at every given stage. Going by this route Kalki went on from being an artist, to whatever she wanted to be and as we see there’s no limit.
Like any form of Art which evolves through time, Kalki too keeps evolving through common galleries to FaceBook and now to Instagram. One thought she gives Artists is to be out there, relevant, maintain a social network and pursue whatever form of art their heart calls them to.
Art heals Artists and the onlookers who appreciate it. Kalki realised the power of Art contributed a lot to it and her community. Her foundation Sahodhari which has been voicing for the transgender and gender non-binary community of India since 2007 is one of the pioneering organisations encouraging Art and Technology as a mode of healing, gaining social and economic power for the Transgender community. Kalki and her organisation are the best examples to showcase how Art empowers and heals. Art and Artists are often seen as uncommitted people without a serious goal in life but her story breaks that stigma to narrate a story of success started from scratch through sheer determination and passion for life and art.
There’s a first to everything and then there’s struggle followed by success. The game is the same for all who dare to break the pattern and artists in most cases are the pattern breakers. When asked how she drew strength from Art and why she was inspired by Kahlo, the Mexican painter, she explained how Kahlo had the power to see the beauty in everything despite her pain. There were flowers in her head despite the pain in her body and heart. Kalki like Kahlo, despite what she went through produced Art through the pain to fight back and empower. And like Kahlo, she too could never bear a kid, for these reasons and for her
personne she chooses to enumerate her using pop colours to her in her Art.
How does one price their Art? How did you price your art? These were the dumb questions I was asking someone who was doing Art to heal people. This is evident from the poems in her book which speaks to the reader. Ultimately confidence and knowing one’s self-worth is the formula behind pricing Art and managing organisation. Fighting Patriarchy and taking what is rightfully hers, from talking at Harvard to reading out her poetry at Sahitya Akademi Awards, Kalki’s work and achievements have celebrated the Life and Art of the Transgender Community at large.