Dancer and transgender activist Kalki Subramaniam’s digital pop-art exhibition is on at The Hotel Promenade in Puducherry and will go on till December 22.

Sridevi brought joy to my life Trans activist Kalkis pop art tribute to late actor
news Art Monday, November 25, 2019 - 18:13

“Sridevi has made me dance, laugh, smile and cry. She brought joy to my life,” begins activist, artist and dancer Kalki Subramaniam from Tamil Nadu, who has come up with an exclusive digital pop art exhibit on late actor Sridevi.

Kalki explains why: “I was bullied at school for being a transgender kid. So, I used to bunk classes and go watch her films in theatres. I would go for repeat shows. She was a big role model and a mentor in my life. This is my tribute to her.”

The digital pop art, which is a mix of photographs and artwork by Kalki herself, will be on display at The Hotel Promenade in Puducherry till December 22. The exhibit was inaugurated on November 22.

Based on invites for exhibition centres, Kalki’s exhibition of 10 exclusive pieces will travel to other cities as well. “Those at the Promenade have been kind enough to offer the exhibit space for free. They actively support local and emerging artists. It will go to other places depending on invitation from hosts,” says the transgender activist.

Kalki Subramaniam, who began working on it one-and-half months ago, thanks photographer ‘Stills’ Ravi and late fashion photographer Gautam Rajadhyaksha. “Stills Ravi sir, who is my friend on social media, had published a series of photos of Sridevi from her days shooting for Johnny (the 1980 Tamil film directed by Mahendran). He had worked in the film. I asked for his permission to use his pictures as references, to which he agreed. I also used Gautam Rajadhyaksha’s photos as references,” Kalki shares.

Kalki has used photographs of Sridevi from the 80s and the 90s, for her art. “She was extremely popular in Tamil during the 80s and in the 90s. She was at the peak of her career as a superstar, entertaining people like a diva. I wanted to use these images because it brought memories from my childhood,” she gushes.

Explaining how every frame brought her happiness and reminded her of the times she used to watch her films and marvel at her dance moves, she says, “I especially loved her in ‘Hawaa Hawaai’ song in Mr India. Some of my trans friends even changed their names to Sridevi. She was everyone’s most favourite diva of the 80s and 90s. Sridevi did films in all languages and triumphed as a star in all of them. This is my tribute to her as a fan.”

Kalki, who has dabbled in surrealism, cubism and other kinds of pop art, shares that this is the first time she has tied her hand at digital pop art. “Every exhibit is in different colours — sky blue, pink, red, black, purple and maroon. I wanted it to be a colourful work, which would show her in a very different light. I wanted to bring her to the latest artistic medium and project her in an iconic way,” she adds.

A percentage of sales from these artworks will be set aside to fund the Transgender Art Project at Kalki’s Sahodari Foundation.