The RedWall is an artivism project initiated by Trans rights activist and artist Kalki Subramaniam to empower the voices of the transgender, non-binary and gender-diverse people of India against sexual abuse and assault. For the past two years, Kalki and the team of Sahodari has been interviewing more than 500 transgender and gender non binary people including People living with HIV (PLHIV), talking to them to about their lives in depth.
The stories rejection, the painful experiences of rejection, violence, hatred and abuse by their biological family, extended family, their partners, experiences on the streets as a homeless person, and how they are treated by the public are all documented by the team. This is a participatory artivism project where the interviewee writes the experience on a handmade paper and imprints their red palm on it. For those who can not write, the interviewer writes it listening to them.
Sexual violence is a terrible, horrible, physical and mental health affecting issue which transgender people have been going through for decades. Almost every transgender person in the world may have gone through such violent experiences atleast once in their lives. Many of us remain silent victims.
We are asking them to write testimonials on the physical and sexual violence inflicted on them because of their gender expressions and health status. We found that every transgender person whom we interviewed has been been sexually molested, abused or exploited at least once in their lives. Transgender people from the states of Tamilnadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Delhi and West Bengal have participated in this project.
The Participants are interviewed with empathy by sensitive and sensible transgender team and volunteers of Sahodari Foundation, write their experiences on a think handmade paper followed by a red painted palm impression of their right or left hand. With the consent of the participants, we exhibit these testimonials at public galleries at public venues like colleges, universities and public art galleries.
The aim of the project is to give a voice to the transgender victims, encourage them to speak about the injustice done to them, seek justice for the victims by bringing their testimonials to the public and media and protest against violence against transgender people. We sensitize the public and the media on the violence inflicted upon transgender people. We encourage transgender people to speak up. Silence will encourage more violence. We request the participants to write the names of the persons who had harmed them.
We invite the public and the media to come and read the testimonials to know, understand and empathise with the experiences transgender people have endured in their life journeys because of their gender expressions.
We particularly are very involved in taking this project as an exhibition and show it to young people around the world in galleries, colleges, universities and other academic institutions. With the exhibition, we do performance art, monologues, and poetry. We also invite panelist speakers from human rights background to speak about resistance against sexual crimes against transgender people.
Times of India
Shut Up! – The Red Wall protest art show by transgender people