Thinking Queer Archives, Art Practice and Activism

Friday, 2nd August 2019
10 AM – 5 PM *followed by evening drinks and chit chat HQ, Arun Thapa Chowk, Jhamsikhel
*Suggested contribution Rs. 500 per person (to cover lunch)

This seminar is open to 25 participants. To register, please email

Where is our place? Where do we belong? Can the archive be a site where we can discover and name ourselves? Can it be a site where we build solidarities? Can the excavation of queer experience, queer desires and queer traumas allow us to re-examine our inherited past knowledge and imagine new futures? is pleased to invite you to this one-day discussion seminar to collectively think about and discuss queer archives, art practice and activism through conversations on how, as curators, researchers, archivists, educators and activists, we can remember, recognize, and witness queer lives across South Asia.

10:00am – 1:00pm

We will spend the first half of the day with our curators in residence; Sumitra and Aziz Sohail, who will share with us their work as queer art and cultural practitioners in South Asia and the diaspora;

Presentation 1: Sumitra will share her curatorial process including her experience of executing the Students Biennale at Kochi Muziris Biennale (2016-17) with 14 other curators, curating the local Pride festivals in Bangalore, curating the archive and interpreting archival materials in art installations, and her research as a doctoral scholar.

Presentation 2: Aziz Sohail will present his curatorial practice based between Los Angeles and Karachi focusing on some recent projects including In Search of Baba Singh (Los Angeles, 2019), Making Space (Delhi, 2018) and collaborative projects with Abdullah Qureshi and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (Philadelphia and Berlin, 2018) as a way to think about a queer curatorial outlook and bringing together various interdisciplinary and transnational perspectives.

Presentations will be followed by open discussion on key questions about curatorial practice as queer individuals and some of the struggles faced when speaking about queer issues in the regional and national art world in South Asia and diaspora.

1:00pm – 2:00pm – Lunch (provided)


2:00pm – 5:00pm

We will spend the afternoon session thinking through and discussing the need for, possibilities of and challenges related to an intersectional queer and feminist activism.

Presentation 3: Rukshana Kapali from Queer Youth Group will share the process and experience of organizing the first pride parade in Kathmandu, and the successes and challenges involved.

Presentation 4: Diwas Raja Kc will share notes on the possibilities and problems of solidarity between the queer and feminist movements. Based on an 8-point manifesto on queer feminism he authored with Surabhi Pudasaini, the discussion will open up conversation about what kind of rethinking of gender and sexuality queer feminism calls for.

Presentations will be followed by open discussion.

5:30pm onwards – Drinks and casual conversations. Open to friends and +1s! 🙂

Sumitra (India) is an independent art curator and researcher who has been working in the field for over 10 years. She has curated projects in India, working primarily with archival material. Her curatorial practice engages and problematizes the understanding of queering art practice as well as Queerness as an identity.

Aziz Sohail (Pakistan) is an art curator, writer and researcher. His practice is particularly invested in promoting under-researched histories and building interdisciplinary connections between art, history, archive, fiction, theory and biography.

Rukshana Kapali (Nepal) is 20 years old transgender woman involved in the Queer rights and Newa Movements. She works in Sahaayam Nepal, an NGO working on Comprehensive Sexuality Education. She has been involved in activism around the citizenship bill, gender identity, and displacement of indigenous people.

Diwas Raja Kc (Nepal) is an independent researcher, writer, and curator based in Kathmandu. At Nepal Picture Library, he previously led research for the creation of its Dalit archive. He also works as a documentary film editor.