The Emotions & Aspirations Of The Indian Transgender Community At The Koovagam Festival

The Emotions & Aspirations Of The Indian Transgender Community At The Koovagam Festival
Image Courtesy: Suriya Kathir

There’s an inimitable clarity of narrative in Suriya Kathir’s photography that instantly grabs your attention and pulls you into the worlds they’re attempting to capture. In every picture, the lifelike quality of the subjects in frame almost instantly transports you to their corresponding time and place; allowing you to virtually experience a myriad of sights, sounds and surroundings. It is this quality that also allows the subtext and the messaging of each photoseries to be effortlessly relayed to audiences; nudging them to reconcile and grapple with complex and nuanced ideas and subjects pertaining to social justice and LGBTQAI+ representation. We thought we’d speak to the creative and get a better understanding of their art as well as their motivations as a creative.

Could you tell us about your latest project?

The Koovagam Project is about the contrast in society’s perspective on the transgender community. I personally feel the Koovagam Festival’s final day ‘Lamentation’ ritual was a reflection of the transgender community’s emotion towards society and the people who ostracised them. This project is mainly focused on the celebration of transgender individuals and their marriage to an imaginary mythical god named ‘Aravan’ and the lamentation of his death the very next day.

Image Credits: Suriya Kathir

What are some of your biggest inspirations over the years of your artistic career?

I find inspiration in every photographer and artist, irrespective of their age, fame or genre. I feel everyone’s perspective is different and it’s not a crime to be inspired by everyone.

Describe your creative process and the purpose with which you create.

The creative process through which I create my art is to replicate the emotions I see and try to bring the message I want to convey through my photography. I choose the documentary format just because I believe this art form stirs the heart and plants a new perspective on things in people’s minds.

Image Credits: Suriya Kathir

Which is your favourite piece of work of your own & why?

I personally love my ‘Religious Ecstasy’ project, which is still ongoing. I read and learn a lot from it.

One track you’re currently listening to?

You can find Suriya here.

If you enjoyed this, we suggest you read