Review by Neha Kirpal
September 01, 2018


Homomorphism II
An exhibit on Same-Sex intimacy
July  14-21, 2018
Kerala History Museum,
Edapally, Kochi, Kerala


An exhibit on same-sex intimacy, Homomorphism II, was showcased at the Kerala History Museum, Edappally, Kochi. Inspired by the innate synchronism of self-acceptance and self-representation, Homomorphism II was an art pursuit of about 150 art works to mark the invisible impressions of same-sex intimacy. The exhibition also rendered outlines of solitude, singlehood, nostalgia and desires converged on same-sex love. By presenting certain unrevealed gestures of homosexual orientation, it attempts to compose a new language in the art arena, confront homophobic impulses in the state and use art as a medium of resistance to advocate inclusive art spaces.

At the exhibition, a team of seven artists from diverse geographical and linguistic backgrounds joinined hands to aggregate their notions on being gay, solitude, love and desires. The team wishfully places subliminal notions of their disadvantaged social position by delivering modern elements of queer subculture. The exhibition was in continuum with the first part of the art project, Homomorphism, in December 2015. Talking about the exhibition, Jijo Kuriakose, Founder, Queerala, said, “We look forward to a stint where queer folk in the state can experience self-relatable depictions of homosexuality via which they would feel a part of the society that they dwell in.”

One of the participants, Aishwaryan Kumaran, multi-disciplinary visual artist from Bengaluru. His artwork is mostly narrative and he thinks them from an artist’s perspective. The concepts are then translated according to the medium that he feels emotes best. Most of Aishwaryan’s works at Homomorphism II are based on the self and its fragments of moments. In his art, he says he identifies experiences and situations that many like him would have felt or gone through. “In this fast-paced world, nobody has time for anybody, let alone feelings and emotions. I wish to pause my audience for a moment to identify with these feelings,” he says.

Another is Kochi-based Mahesh M.G., who used to draw pictures of men about whom he would fantasise. They often included sexual and romantic acts. “I tore them all, so that none of my friends would see it,” he reminisces. But Homomorphism II got him to exhibit works in which he has drawn the kind of pictures he used to once tear up. At the exhibition, Mahesh has used photographs as a reference to draw. “My work portrays that same-sex intimacy can happen anywhere. In one of my works, I have drawn two farmers. One feeds nectar from the banana flowers to the other,” he says. Further, his pictures speak about same-sex intimacy through different parts of the body—like legs and hands—that have a vital role in expressing our utmost affection toward our partner. “It gives me immense pride to be a part of such a great campaign. I feel so liberated and excited,” he adds.

Arvin Ombika from Mauritius is showcasing his works from three series that started a couple of years ago. The first, ‘Plato's Symposium,’ is inspired by Plato's book ‘Symposium.’ For instance, 'Love is simply the name for desire and pursuit of the whole'. The next is 'A couple's ledger', where hand gestures—more like mudra—represent the different experiences that occur in any couple's life regardless of gender or sexuality. Another series is 'Either I am nobody... or I am a nation', a quote by the late Derek Walcott. This series is the liberation of the self through music and nature using traditional instruments. Interestingly, on display will also feature collaborative, on oil and a series of drypoints works with Arvin’s partner, Santanu who is also showing his works in this exhibition.

The queer community in Kerala, which stays mostly invisible under the blanket of social norms on sexuality, seeks cultural projection to overcome the brackets of being mystery beings. Other participating artists in this exhibition were Pragya Pallavi from Mumbai, Santanu Dutta from Kolkata and Sandeep T.K. from Bengaluru.