Venue: FotoklubKollektiv, Silbersteinstraße 133, 12051 Berlin
Time: 14.00 – 19.00, Thursday to Saturday
This series, created as a form of self healing, may hold the capacity to heal you too. Illustrator and visual artist Opashona Ghosh, a member of the FotoKlub Kollektiv, developed Till Kindom Come to transform her feelings of shame, fear, and anger into those of pleasure and self respect. Till Kindom Come dives into the peculiar world of fantasy as a coping mechanism; the fantasy that responds to the need to heal by using depictions of women of colour in playfully sexual acts within symbolic environments. Designed to both titillate and empower, the series features 13 bold paintings which display the ideology of Ghosh’s work through self portraits and symbolism. Recent exhibitions of Gosh’s work include Hyper Functional, Ultra Healthy (Somerset House Studios, London 2018), Scope – Driven by Porche (Curated by GIRLS, Berlin 2018) and In Transit (Artnivo, Istanbul 2017). She was also Artist-In-Resident at Berlin-based femme forward collective Room 4 Resistance in Autumn 2018.
In a sentence: Expand your vocabulary of sexuality.
We spoke with Opashona at the exhibition opening to gain an insight into her new body of work.
What has the reaction to Till Kindom Come been like so far?
It was like my coming out story in a way, and without actually discussing it with friends or talking about it I just left these images out in the open to see how people react to it. There were extremely polarized reactions to it, actually. Thankfully I don’t really care about how people think so I moved forward with it. The reactions that were slightly negative or difficult helped me push through and finish it as well.
Have you showcased the collection at home in India yet?
No, not yet. Absolutely not yet. Homosexuality kind of only became legal last year in India and obviously there’s more of a conversation about that healing, and the beautiful energy of women coming together, because you know patriarchy teaches women to hate women. Through this, I was hoping for women to join in solidarity by loving each other. I’ve been receiving a lot of love in India. It’s very recent. It’s only now that I am receiving a lot of positivity in India and they’re interested in having conversations with me. I have a show later in the year which is going to be exciting for me and nerve wrecking. It makes me so vulnerable. Like my ass is out there. Literally.
Are all of these images of you?
They are projected images of me but maybe not literally of me. You can see when I felt comfortable and where I started opening up a lot more and I saw a sense of freedom and liberation that I didn’t have in India. After I moved here, I had to fight through the society of being a woman of color then being a queer woman of color. So it has its own damages that it brings to you. I came to Berlin in a time where I was beginning to find myself, and the inspirations were in there and in the right direction. You can see the confidence in them. Moving to a new place allows you to be who you’re supposed to be without any baggage from your past. The combination of living between Berlin and London last year was extremely beautiful to me, because if you find your voice in a place that you found your pain and if you can allow yourself to walk straight and tall and confidently, it’s done. Now it’s time to carry on without any excuses.
What’s the importance of the vocabulary used regarding the queer community?
To me, the vocabulary is actually really problematic. Let’s just call them queer because a queer involves everyone including non-binary and so on. I don’t want these definitions to divide things further because that’s really problematic I think. Also, since this baby is done, my idea of feminism has changed quite a bit. I am super femme but I also understand that my feminism is not womb-centric anymore. A lot of femmes don’t have a womb. A lot of wombs don’t have a vagina and it’s not fair from a responsibility point of view, but I actually I physically feel not fair to just be so womb-centric, beauty-centric, and womb-centric because that erases our trans-history and many other history which is really not fair.
What did you learn about yourself and your sexuality through creating this exhibition?
What does a woman mean anymore? What does a man mean anymore? In a way, through doing this I have embodied my masculine side, which is also extremely kinky and femme. But at the same time, I am a bit of everything. The more I think about it, the more I spend time with myself, the more I see the way I dress, I am finding myself more and more gender neutral, but I’m not there yet. I feel like I still have some things that are extremely strong in me although it shouldn’t define your experience in society, it obviously does, which is why we need to speak about it in every aspect of the world.