As a supplement to the current 11th film programme – curated by Aks International Minorities Festival Pakistan – in the 12 Moons Filmlounge and in collaboration with the TransFormations – Trans* Film Festival Berlin, the exhibition in the adjoining Project Space provides an in-depth insight into the lives of trans* people in Pakistan and makes the atmosphere of the festival tangible.
The display will include photographs by Nadia Horsted-Narejo, who documented the film festival in 2016. She has intensively studied and was able to photograph the Khawja Sera (South Asian indigenous trans* identity) community in and around Lahore, Pakistan. Her focus was to capture the people in moments of emancipation; at parties, in their own home and in safe spaces. With her series “Ladies of Lahore”, she approaches the complex reality and history of trans* identities in Pakistan. Historically, Khawja Seras have been somehow tolerated as performers* and dancers* and also accepted in the context of certain religious practises as people with spiritual powers. Due to limited access and acceptance within society, the community members tend to live together in trans* dormitories and in specific kin structures. In 2009, Khawja Seras in Pakistan were officially recognized as ‘third gender’ and were granted civil rights, including the right to vote. However, there is still a lot to be done for the visibility and acceptance of trans* people in Pakistan.
In addition to the photographic works, a compilation of video footage transports impressions of the festival into the Project Space of the Gay Museum. At the same time, the arrangement of the space allows an experience of the the special atmosphere and circumstances of the festival.
Aks International Minorities Festival was established in 2014 in Pakistan by activists seeking to improve the representation of queer and trans* people of color. The festival takes place annually in Pakistan across its biggest cities, with a specific focus on the Khawja Sera community, attracting a positive media reception and devoted audience. Since 2015, Aks has also held an annual festival in Copenhagen, bringing into focus the lives of queer minorities through a unique combination of film, workshops, art exhibitions and performance. Aks means ‘reflection’ or ‘mirror’ in Urdu, and the Aks festival aims to hold up a metaphorical mirror to trans* and queer minorities with the aim of improving their visibility. The festival will encourage artists and activists to give greater voice to the experiences of some of our most vibrant and most marginalized community members.
The 11th Moon is a cooperation between Schwules Museum, TransFormations + Trans* Film Festival Berlin and Aks Int. Minorities Festival.
12 Moons is supported by the Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa.
The exhibition and its accompagnying events are made possibly with the kind support of Goethe Institut Pakistan