Kader Attia

Untitled, 2020
Collages and drawings, new commission

‘For many years I have been interested on the particularity of non-western queer. It started 20 years ago, with Algerian transgenders. Then one day a transgender friend of mine told me about the existence of hijras in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and other countries of the Subcontinent. During a first trip to India in 2009, I was lucky enough to be introduced to a group of them and their guru.
What is the most intriguing to me, is the fact that they see themselves neither as men nor women, even if they look like transgenders, but as women living in a man’s body. The space in-between, the fold they embody is an endless possibility of genders. This leads me to another notion I have been exploring in my work (with the photographic series Rochers Carrés, among others), which is exile. Can someone be exiled in his/her own body? Can a woman be exiled in a man’s body?
This idea of exile leads me to tackle the question of the body as an unknown territory, with undefined borders. Through the area’s history (Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, etc…) and more particularly it’s colonial history, I would like to understand this body through a pre-colonial culture, that hijras still embody, and a post-colonial one, through the place they have today in society.’ Kader Attia

Text provided by artist