Bishakha Datta has worked at the cusp of art, media and activism for more than 20 years - ever since she edited the lovingly-titled...
What is the interface between art and activism? Is it necessary that one is prioritized over the other, or is there the possibility of a rich harmony between the two? And who makes the art - the artist, the activist, or the people you wish to impact?
Art and activism have joined hands and collided repeatedly over the history of independent India. While movements and governments have often recognised the power of art to draw people in, they have also tended to be uncomfortable with the open communication of art, preferring instead the direct, underlined message. They have also tended to be impatient with the desire of the artist to focus on the aesthetics of their art - this aspect being seen as an indulgence and not necessary to the substance of activism. Artists, truly invested in activism, have struggled with dynamics, sometimes succumbing, sometimes walking away, and some rare times slugging it out to find that critical balance that enriches both art and activism.
We are delighted to invite Bishakha Datta - journalist, film-maker & activist - to Mumbai Local. In 1997, Bishakha co-founded Point of View, to help women find their voices - driven by the belief that being heard is a key step in transforming lives and realities. This work is enabled through a variety of media, arts and culture platforms, both online and offline. Bishakha is very clear that she is "not a believer in Good Art, Bad Politics or Bad Art, Good Politics." She sees her work with Point of View as a continuous negotiation between art and activism, interrogating various aspects of artistic production, excellence and expression.
Look forward to an evening where we will grapple with essential questions surrounding art and activism. Expect to hear fascinating stories and see the art created from theatre with sex workers, young people making digital stories, sexuality and disability, and more. And come away with deep insights into what art can offer to activism, and the transformative impact it seeks.
See you on Friday, 13th October, 5:30 pm at Kitab Khana. And again, a gentle reminder - in keeping with the spirit of Mumbai Local, do share the details of this session on to at least 5 of your friends who would be interested. The more people who join us, the merrier!
@ MCubed Library, Bandra (W) - 1st Sat, 5 pm
@ Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Byculla (E) - 2nd Sun, 5 pm
@ Kitab Khana, Fort - 3rd Fri, 5:30 pm
Bishakha Datta has worked at the cusp of art, media and activism for more than 20 years - ever since she edited the lovingly-titled book, And Who Will Make The Chappatis? A writer, filmmaker, and creative media producer, Bishakha is also the founder of the non-profit Point of View. Much of her work is around the intersections of gender and sexuality in digital and physical spaces. Much of her work explores marginal, invisible, and silenced points of view - or those considered illegitimate.
Bishakha's film work includes In The Flesh, a film on the lives of three sex workers, and Taza Khabar, which delves into a unique women-run rural newspaper. Books she edited include Nine Degrees of Justice, a collection of essays on the struggle against violence on women in India, and And Who Will Make the Chapatis?, an anthology on rural women's political participation. In 2015, she launched the online imprint, Deep Dives, which publishes long-form journalism on 'the way we live now'. Bishakha, who started her working life as a journalist, is currently writing #Selling Sex, a book on the lives and realities of sex workers in India.