T.A few years ago, in early June 2019, a young man stepped on stage in a small cafe in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad and sang Lady Gaga’s hit song Bourne. She chose the song for the line “Don’t be a drag, just be a queen” because it will be her first public performance as a drag artist. He expected more than a handful of people to attend the show, along with two other drag artists, but the cafe was packed with more than 500 people this evening. In a conservative city like Hyderabad, it was a big surprise.
It is a long journey for Patroni Chidananda Sastri, who started learning classical Indian dance at the age of five. Now 29 and working as a business analyst, he is doing trinomial – a postmodern drag concept born in Los Angeles in the mid-2000s. On June 25, he is holding the first drag conference in India as part of which Dragonity , Its online initiative to bring together drag artists from across the country.
The one-day virtual event, which is expected to attract more than 250 people – including popular drag artists, will cover a wide range of topics, from dragging in the classical arts to the globalization of indigenous drag through Bollywood.
“The idea is to give the drag community a place to talk about themselves and all the things that have to do with our lives,” says Sistri.
For a few years before the pull, Sistri was using classical Indian dance to explain the complex concepts of gender and Indian sex, and to raise awareness of the challenges facing the LGBTQ + community in India. “In 2016, I emerged as a gender fluid person, and my art became my reflective voice,” he says.
But it’s like a drag artist that Sistri has come into his own as a worker. In 2019, people in her hometown were shocked to see Sistri and some other artists dragging AIDS awareness on the streets and at bus stops.
They have also used drag drag to protest: Against the Transgender Persons Act 2019 (seen) Trans community as a reactionary), Against the right-wing government’s discrimination against the country’s Muslim minority through the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens, and in support of the recent farmers’ protests in northern India.
“The way the world is changing, any artist should be political. And dragging by nature is political. Without going into a march or protest, I am protesting because I believe that drag can be effective in bringing about change, “he says.
According to Sistri, there have always been traditional drag performances in various Indian communities, such as lOnda dance Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh and کنیان کوتو In Tamil Nadu. But in the last 10 years, a new wave of drag has emerged in India, with influential artists like Maya Drag Queen and Miss Bhanji at the forefront. Now, they estimate, there are more than 100 artists scattered across the country (there are currently 36 registered on Dragunti’s website).
Drag scenes are more common in cities. “There are also drag artists in small towns like Jalandhar and Nagpur, but they do not have the resources to connect with the larger group or find a place to present their art.”
Heaton Nonwal, a fashion designer and speaker from Delhi, a gender-driven performer at this weekend’s conference, sheds light on how drag is a means of storytelling and social change. ۔ He has been involved in drag since he was 10 years old, but only a few years ago he discovered the formal world of drag.
When I finally got the drag, I knew I had to call. Art has been my partner ever since, “he says. A postgraduate from the prominent National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad, who says he had to be pushed to school because of” being different, ” Teach in design colleges, make custom clothes. For example, if the class is about the history of fashion, I wear Cleopatra’s clothes. And now everyone likes it. ”
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