Founded in 2015 by Mist – an online collective of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender activists – the Queer and Allies Art Festival (QAAF) brings together artists, craftspeople, and performers from all over India in a single event that demonstrates the talent and artistry of India’s LGBTQ community and its allies. The festival is a free one-full-day slate of performances, films, and art installations that happens in various cities in India.
Journey of Queer and Allies Art Festival:
2015 – 2 Cities (Bangalore & Pune): Queer and Allies Art Festival (QAAF) was first held at Urban Solace in Bangalore in October 2015 and attracted over 150 participants, including 30 artists, performers, and craftspeople. Featuring the music of Last Semester, the photography of Aritro Sarkar, and the work of filmmaker Moses Tulasi, the event offered a rare opportunity for queer and straight allied artists to come together under one roof to engage with inter-sectional queer issues. Moreover, the festival made it evident that there was a real thirst for this sort of communal artistic space in cities all over India. Following the success of the Bangalore event, in November 2015, QAAF took the show on the road to Pune, where over 200 people attended the festival. Artists from Mumbai and Bangalore joined local Pune artists such as Zee-Award Winning Actor Zameer Kamble and funk rock band Mafaka to advocate for solidarity between queer people and their allies.
2016 – 3 Cities (Chennai, Hyderabad & Pune): In 2016, we had QAAF at Chennai for the very first time during May and Hyderabad during July with more new artists and performances that we have earned through our journey. We presented performers like, Zameer Kamble with his new edition “Simran ki Nirvani” from Pune, Srijith Sundaram (Kattiyakkari – Chennai based theatre group) with his play “Yeriyum Ninaivugal” (Flaming memories – translated from Tamil), and many more dancers from Bangalore, Pune, Chennai and your local favorite queer’s. Following the two successful events in 2016, we presented our second edition of QAAF, at Pune in October 2016. We had around 200+ participants and around 20 artists performing dance, solo singing, instrumentals, play and we screened 5 movies earlier to the performances.
2017 – 3 Cities (Hyderabad, Bangalore & Pune): In 2017, we started our third edition of Queer and Allies Art Festival from Hyderabad which happened on 30th of July 2017, with much more new artists like Sumit Pawar and Varum Satam from Mumbai performing a semi-classical kathak fusion, group performances, and great movies. The events pulled a running crowd of 150+ audience who were thrilled to watch all the wonderful movies screened and the amazing performances. In October 2017, QAAF took its road towards Bangalore for the second time. We had around 200+ audience who watched talented artists performing along with the travelling artists. On December 2017, we put our show for the third consecutive year in Pune which attracted around 180+ audiences. The Kathak performers Anish, Chayan and Girish, classical dance by Shreyansh, no gender dance by Ashish, the famous duo of Pune – Pulkit and Umang, Stand-up comedian Aayushi, belly dancer Pemba and much more poets and other artists rocked the stage and engaged the audience to the fullest.
2018 – 3 Cities (Hyderabad, Bangalore & Pune): In 2018, we had our journey of QAAF from June at Hyderabad, at Jxtapose, Jubilee Hills on 10th June 2018, which attracted the most number of participants and audiences compared to the previous year. We had some great movies like My Son is Gay, Any Other Day which talks about homosexuality is not a sin or crime and give the audience a provoking thought to take Love as Love. After a successful event at Hyderabad with the same spirit, we found our path to Bangalore for the third time on 18th August 2018. This year we did our festival in Bangalore at Commune Coworks, Koramangala. We had a few amazing artists like Maanasa who performed Odissi, Aayushi Jugad who did a stand-up act, and many more. The festival attracted a walk-in crowd of 250+ this year which made our event a very huge success. Post which we had the fourth edition of QAAF at Pune which had over 200+ audience crowd.
2019 – 4 Cities Planned (Hyderabad, Bangalore Chennai & Pune): In 2019, we have started our journey of QAAF Edition 5.0 from August and have planned to cover 4 cities this year Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai and Pune. A set of 10 short films that was submitted and screened at Out & Loud – Pune International Queer Film Festival 2019 has been selected for the movie screening.
Our vision is to get QAAF to every city possible and give a platform for young emerging artists a free space to showcase their talents to the public in the place they live and outside as well. Together, you, me, queer and straight artists alike, can come together in solidarity to dialogue about sexuality, diversity and rights, and your contribution will make this all possible. If you wish to contribute or be a part of this traveling art festival, reach out to Shyam Konnur (the founder and director of the festival) at +919552356574 or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are an artist and waiting for a platform to demonstrate your talents, kindly fill up the participant registration form available and we will get back to you. You can also get in touch with Ram at +919986011456 or email@example.com for any queries or more details.