Podcast / broadcast video : First Asian same-sex marriage in London, UK


Video : First Asian same-sex marriage in London, UK streamed –  Subodh Rathod and Niranjan Kamatkar are married on Saturday 29 March 2014, at 9.30 am in London.

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Subodh Rathod & Niranjan Kamatkar

The wedding took place at Wood Green Civic Centre, North London. Live podcast was at 9.30 am (United Kingdom time):

Live streaming video by Ustream

#SameSexWedding BBC Radio 4 World Tonight Interview Start at 36.15 min – World’s First Asian Same Sex Couple Subodh Rathod and Niranjan Kamatkar married in London on 29 March 2014 – Start at 36.15 min – Ends with Shehnai music by Bismilla Khan

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Wise Thoughts the arts charity is looking for additional trustees


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Established in 1999, Wise Thoughts (Company Reg. No.: 3758786 Charity Reg. No.: 1077616)  creates dynamic arts initiatives such as GFEST–Gaywise FESTival, London’s LGBT arts festival for all.

The charity arts projects and services to tackle social justice issues and needs of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) and Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities.

Wise Thoughts – the arts charity looking for trustees who have board level or significant management level experience and specific skills in one of the following areas:  finance / legal / fundraising. Charity trustees are responsible for the general control and management of the administration. The Trustees need to offer commitment of up to 6 hours per month and quarterly board meetings attendance from the trustees. Although a trustee’s position is unremunerated, they can help deliver the change in the most exciting way. Interested? get in touch with  CV and brief covering note to The Chair, Board of Trustee of Wise Thoughts : info@wisethoughts.org / 02088899555

http://wisethoughts.org/events/?p=16

Useful link: http://www.charitycommission.gov.uk/publications/cc3.aspx

Queer London Festival: Profile of GFEST 2010 Performer Nikki Patin


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GFEST – Gaywise FESTival 2010 performer Nikki Patin will perform as part of this year’s festival. Full programme of the festival (8 to 21 Nov) is now announced. For GFEST 2010 films, performances and exhibitions information & booking please visit: http://www.gaywisefestival.org.uk/

Some thoughts shared by Nikki:

My art is my salvation, my redemption. I feel that it gives my life purpose and meaning and helps me to make sense of my own feelings and experiences. It is a catalyst for collaboration and connection. It is a bridge from myself to others and vice-versa. I wish I had a practice. When I’m preparing for shows, I run through work to make sure that I have it down but I’m not a fan of incessant rehearsing because I lose my ability to emotionally connect to the work if I repeat it too often. I write/compose when I feel the need or motivation. I’ve never had the luxury to create art for art’s sake and I do believe mine suffers for that lack, but I also believe that the connection that I feel to my work is intrinsically linked to my ability to harness my emotion and ride it until I reach composition.

Nikki Patin

Well, I feel that my beliefs around sexuality and my attraction not being derived from one specific gender affects the images that I present onstage. Also, I’m pretty much constantly aware of the “isms” that control so much of what we take in, in terms of media and art. I am in a relationship with a male partner that affords me the privilege of seeming heterosexual, but I don’t feel that taking that privilege allows the truth to be known. I’m a bit off the beaten path, in terms of my sexuality and gender identity. that affects what I write, how I perform and who I connect with most in my audiences. I feel most comfortable performing in queer spaces because I have more room to be more complex, to challenge the status quo and to actually be heard/seen/felt through multiple and simultaneous layers of identity.

My work is rarely about sexuality exclusively, but I feel like my poems and lyrics are threaded with dialogue that asks questions, reveals experiences from a queer perspective. In my creativity and in my life, I am constantly challenging what it means to be female and male, to love and be attracted to gender identities all along the spectrum. I suppose this may seem confusing to folks, gay and straight, who have a more binary view of sexuality. I believe that the personal is the political and that art invariably reflects who’s creating it. I believe that good art is good art and is so, regardless of sexuality. Art is a vessel for expression. If we don’t express some part of ourselves (experiences, perspectives, identities, opinions, etc.), whether abstractly, directly or indirectly, would the artistic creation even exist? I do not think so. Art is a direct line from the energy we share, as part of co-existence with every living thing. Some parts of that direct line express queer stories, experiences, perspectives. Some parts don’t. The end of that line is art, though. At the root of Black art, queer art, feminist art, European art, indigenous art is art. I think it’s up to the artist to determine their own identity and how their art does or does not represent all or part of that identity.

I fund my practice through teaching this art that I love and performing a lot. I also sell books and albums. I’ve recently gotten a full-time job helping other artists make money for their art through teaching and performing in schools and community organizations.

I do some social networking, but I try not to be obsessive or annoying. I have my own website. I send out press releases about shows. I need more support getting noticed by media outlets and getting critical reviews of my work. I think that the media is vastly under-utilized by independent artists, including myself. I think that many amazing artists are hesitant or don’t have time to do proper PR. A lot of great work ends up getting missed or looked over in favor of work by those with more financial backing, who can afford a PR firm, or those with better connections to journalists, editors and popular art critics/bloggers.

I want to be known as a renaissance woman who is equally skilled as a writer, vocalist, performance artist and designer. I want the respect of thinking people who resist easy answers and cultural brainwash. I’d like my work to be something that people enjoy and want to come back to. I want one album of mine to be someone’s favorite album, an automatic entry in their 10 ten albums of all time.

I think there are many scenes with the gay or queer art scenes. I see more visibility and more necessity for queer art, especially because bullying of gay teens is reaching epic proportions. Our younger generations need more encouragement, inspiration and support. They need stories and connections and relationships to art that feel like them, like home, like safe. They need anthems and they need to know that they are not alone. I think queer art is going to become less about direct sexuality and more about life through the lens of a queer identity. The world looks different to us. We need to keep talking about that, if only to provide balance and clarity.

A single wish ?  I wish to be taken as one voice, one story, one part of the human circle. I wish to show one more way of living.

Thank you Nikki and best wishes from GFEST

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Now in its fourth year, GFEST 2010 will showcase short films, performances and visual artworks in exhibitions this year.

GFEST2010 showreel on YouTube

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GFEST 2010  images on  http://www.flickr.com/photos/GFEST

GFEST 2010 Performers: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gfest/sets/72157624995681186/

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More info on GFEST – Gaywise FESTival (GFEST in short) web: http://www.gaywisefestival.org.uk

GFEST Artistic Director: Niranjan Kamatkar

WISE THOUGHTS is an arts charity that organises GFEST – Gaywise FESTival  in venues across London.
GFEST web networks: http://www.wisethoughts.org http://www.gaywisefestival.org.uk http://www.facebook.com/niranjan.kamatkar http://www.gaywisefestival.blogspot.com/ http://twitter.com/gfest https://gaywisefestival.wordpress.com/ http://www.yoursemotionally.com/ http://www.myspace.com/interviewwithapolitician http://www.flickr.com/photos/gfest/ http://www.youtube.com/user/wisethoughts http://uk.linkedin.com/in/niranjankamatkar http://www.myspace.com/gaywisefestival

A Chat With Artist Simon Croft At GFEST 2010 – London’s Queer Art Festival for all


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Artist Simon Croft will be presenting his art works at GFEST – Gaywise FESTival 2010 Visual Arts Exhibition @ Hampstead Town Hall / InterChange Studios, The Atrium, Hampstead Town Hall, 213 Haverstock Hill, London NW3 4QP. (Entrance from footpath on Haverstock Hill) / Tel: 020 7692 5800 / Wise Thoughts: 0208 8899555 / Mon 8 to Friday 19 Nov (Sat, Sun closed) 10.30AM to 5.30PM / Entry Free

More Info: http://www.gaywisefestival.org.uk/artsexhibition.php

A Twitter friendly chat with Simon:

Simon Croft

What are you doing right now?

Thinking about ways to explore aging as related to trans people – issues like respect for our identities if we lose capacity and  independence.

How would you describe your own practice?

Drawn from my own experiences and concerns as a transman, but often abstracted to achieve a wider relevance.

How relevant is your work or practice  today to be a part of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) or queer art work?

It explores and expresses what it means to live long-term as a transman and aims to engage with issues beyond ‘practical’ transition.

Tell us more about the process?

Method or process and materials are usually central.  I see them as having parallels with the processes of transition and personal development.

Do you see yourself as ‘queer artist’?

I would describe myself as a trans artist and my work as trans art.  It’s (currently) core to my motivation and practice as an artist.

How do you resource your practice?

I make my art at home and it’s virtually all self funded by me or my wife. I work in the voluntary sector for my main income.

Simon Croft presents his work Nuts at GFEST 2010

Do you think that you publicise or market your work well?

Poorly! The amount of time I spend working to fund my art leaves me limited time to publicise it.

How would you like your work to be known?

As valuing the trans experience – both on an individual and a cultural level, and revealing it as similar to many human experiences.

How do you see tomorrow’s ‘gay or queer art’ scene?

Vibrant, vital, challenging; engaged with the community and relevant to real lives, whilst increasingly high quality and well-regarded.

A single wish?

A dedicated studio space; more time to make work; a permanent LGBT arts venue; a major trans art exhibition – take your pick!

Thank you Simon and best wishes from GFEST.

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Now in its fourth year, GFEST is supported by the Mayor of London, dignitaries, Ministers and MPs from all the leading parties, various London boroughs and Arts Council England.
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GFEST 2010  images on  http://www.flickr.com/photos/GFEST

GFEST 2010 Visual Art :  http://www.flickr.com/photos/gfest/sets/72157624870998137/

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LONDON: GAY ART FESTIVAL : GFEST 2010 showreel on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwJ9UWJX1fg

More info on GFEST – Gaywise FESTival (GFEST in short) web: http://www.gaywisefestival.org.uk

GFEST Artistic Director: Niranjan Kamatkar

WISE THOUGHTS is an arts charity that organises GFEST – Gaywise FESTival  in venues across London.
GFEST web networks: http://www.wisethoughts.org http://www.gaywisefestival.org.uk http://www.facebook.com/niranjan.kamatkar http://www.gaywisefestival.blogspot.com/ http://twitter.com/gfest https://gaywisefestival.wordpress.com/ http://www.yoursemotionally.com/ http://www.myspace.com/interviewwithapolitician http://www.flickr.com/photos/gfest/ http://www.youtube.com/user/wisethoughts http://uk.linkedin.com/in/niranjankamatkar http://www.myspace.com/gaywisefestival


A twitter friendly chat at Gay London Festival: GFEST 2010 artist Matthew Stradling


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Well known and award winning artist Matthew Stradling will be presenting his art work at GFEST – Gaywise FESTival 2010 Visual Arts Exhibition @ Hampstead Town Hall / InterChange Studios, The Atrium, Hampstead Town Hall, 213 Haverstock Hill, London NW3 4QP. (Entrance from footpath on Haverstock Hill) / Tel: 020 7692 5800 / Wise Thoughts: 0208 8899555 Mon 8 to Friday 19 Nov (Sat, Sun closed) 10.30AM to 5.30PM / Entry Free
More Info: http://www.gaywisefestival.org.uk/artsexhibition.php

A very twitter friendly chat with Matthew:

Matthew Stradling

What are you working on right now?
I am working on a painting for the exhibition ‘400 Women’ – an exhibition which highlights the strange disappearance of thousands of young women in Mexico in recent years.

What words would best describe your art?
My art attempts to move, involve, attract, repulse the viewer and ultimately to make them think about what they are looking at.

How relevant is your work today to be a part of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) or queer art work?
I feel it is relevant because I am alive and I am a human being and I have a right to express myself. Whether others find it relevant is up to them.

Tell us why you chose to presenting your work as part of GFEST 2010?
I feel that GFEST operates at a very human level – it is unpretentious and seeks to get through to people of all types. I would like to be part of that.

Do you see your work as gay or queer art?
I don’t feel the need to label myself – yes I am gay and that has effected the way I think and create. But I represent only myself not a whole community – if they find worth and what I do that is great.

Midnight Pearl by Matthew Stradling

How do you resource your practice?
I make money from my art and I have a part-time job doing photography.

Do you think you would need any specific support in terms of getting your work out there?
I find it hard to publicise my work but the internet has been a great platform for reaching people.

How would you like yourself  to be known?

I would like to be known as an artist whose work touches and inspires people.

How do you see tomorrow’s ‘gay or queer art’ scene?
I think it is very healthy. A lot of young artists don’t feel the need to categorise themselves and integrate their sexuality into their general life-experiences.

A single wish ?
More time and energy in the day to do more paintings :)

A Big smile or :) or simply :-D from GFEST and Thank you very much Matthew.

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Now in its fourth year, GFEST is supported by the Mayor of London, dignitaries, Ministers and MPs from all the leading parties, various London boroughs and Arts Council England.
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GFEST 2010  images on  http://www.flickr.com/photos/GFEST

GFEST 2010 Visual Art :  http://www.flickr.com/photos/gfest/sets/72157624870998137/

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LONDON: GAY ART FESTIVAL : GFEST 2010 showreel on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwJ9UWJX1fg

More info on GFEST – Gaywise FESTival (GFEST in short) web: http://www.gaywisefestival.org.uk

GFEST Artistic Director: Niranjan Kamatkar

WISE THOUGHTS is an arts charity that organises GFEST – Gaywise FESTival  in venues across London.
GFEST web networks: http://www.wisethoughts.org http://www.gaywisefestival.org.uk http://www.facebook.com/niranjan.kamatkar http://www.gaywisefestival.blogspot.com/ http://twitter.com/gfest https://gaywisefestival.wordpress.com/ http://www.yoursemotionally.com/ http://www.myspace.com/interviewwithapolitician http://www.flickr.com/photos/gfest/ http://www.youtube.com/user/wisethoughts http://uk.linkedin.com/in/niranjankamatkar http://www.myspace.com/gaywisefestival

Rainbow Colours To Brighten Up London’s Annual Gay Art Festival


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CROSS-ARTS AND CROSS-LONDON

GFEST – Gaywise FESTival, ‘London’s LGBT and queer cross – art festival for all’, has announced an exciting and ambitious 2010 programme. GFEST 2010 Visual arts exhibition is held over two weeks at Hampstead Town Hall from Monday 8 November 2010 to Saturday 20 November 2010. A special visual art exhibition based on an installation in Trafalgar Square The 15 minutes of Same Sex Kiss, will be presented by artist and film-maker Niranjan Kamatkar in the Westminster Reference Library from 8 to 20 November.
The festival visual arts programme can be found on GFEST website:
http://www.gaywisefestival.org.uk/artsexhibition.php

Just Friends

GFEST exhibitions are hugely successful art events where Londoners enjoy and benefit from the Free Entry showcasing of emerging and established gay talent.

Freedom to Love

Truly cross medium, GFEST 2010 programme features, in brief, amongst many others:

New Zealander XAVIER RADIC who has exhibited in Strasbourg, New York and San Francisco. He is a curator of many art exhibitions in New Zealand and has been invited again to show at the Florence Biennale 2011.

HELEN CHURCHILL returns to GFEST after 2008, and has exhibited work at a number of venues and has completed several private commissions for clients in the UK.

London based MATTHEW STRADLING was selected by Sothebys to represent Britain in the Young Artist International Touring Exhibition and was also selected for the BP Portrait Award Exhibition.

MAITREE SIRIBOON has exhibited in Italy, Singapore, Indonesia, Netherlands, Malaysia – and Thailand, where he lives and works as artist and curator for Whitespace Gallery .

Amordazado

Communicating the diverse voices effectively:
NIRANJAN KAMATKAR, the artistic director of GFEST said, “We are pleased to present the work of  talented artists such as Jason C Woodson, Simon Croft and Be Kosc, alongside other accomplished British and International artists.  I am confident that GFEST 2010 programme is a thrilling mix of diversity with the widest possible range of life-changing artistic expressions from the LGBT community.”

In his message of support gay and human rights activist PETER TATCHELL said that GFEST artists are in the “frontline of queer culture, articulating our identities, experiences, triumphs and tragedies.” He also noted, “At a time when arts funding is threatened, it is more important than ever to support GFEST. Go See.”

Jack & Jill series

Now in its fourth year, GFEST is supported by the Mayor of London, dignitaries, Ministers and MPs from all the leading parties, various London boroughs and Arts Council England.
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GFEST 2010  images on  http://www.flickr.com/photos/gfest

GFEST 2010 Visual Art :  http://www.flickr.com/photos/gfest/sets/72157624870998137/

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LONDON: GAY ART FESTIVAL : GFEST 2010 showreel on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwJ9UWJX1fg

More info on GFEST – Gaywise FESTival (GFEST in short) web: http://www.gaywisefestival.org.uk

GFEST Artistic Director: Niranjan Kamatkar

WISE THOUGHTS is an arts charity that organises GFEST – Gaywise FESTival  in venues across London.
GFEST web networks: http://www.wisethoughts.org http://www.gaywisefestival.org.uk http://www.facebook.com/niranjan.kamatkar http://www.gaywisefestival.blogspot.com/ http://twitter.com/gfest https://gaywisefestival.wordpress.com/ http://www.yoursemotionally.com/ http://www.myspace.com/interviewwithapolitician http://www.flickr.com/photos/gfest/ http://www.youtube.com/user/wisethoughts http://uk.linkedin.com/in/niranjankamatkar http://www.myspace.com/gaywisefestival

Why does a ‘queer’ artist want to photograph cows?


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by Neil Young

“The assumption that animals are without rights and the illusion that our treatment of them has no moral significance is a positively outrageous example of Western crudity and barbarity. Universal compassion is the only guarantee of morality.” Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

I smile a wry smile: a colleague who is looking at some of my images has just asked me “why do you photograph cows?” with a look of slight mockery, his eyes starting to mist over with boredom. It is at least a change from “are those sheep gay?’, although in all fairness to the animals I photograph, evidence of them forming a modern Western sexual identity might be tricky to capture in just one shoot. My current work is provocative, exploring the relationship between people and farmed animals given how little contact most of us have with them.

I have always been creative – from an early interest in acting, design and  creative writing at school to my more recent attempts at stand up comedy, improvisation and now photography. And I have always loved animals, spending days as a child playing with my plastic animal family – anything from giraffes, leopards and reindeer to pigs, sheep and cows. Now, as an adult, I have my dog, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel called George, who reminds me every day why the emotional experience of animals has much to teach us all.

In between times I have been drawn to politics and tackling injustices between people: I have been privileged, as a youth worker and then working for both Mayors of London, to represent LGBT people and develop projects that tackle homophobia. I have also been involved in anti-racist campaigns since I was sixteen, when I organised buses to take students from my college in Harrow to protest the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence in southeast London .

As with any fledging artist it has been important to find people that I can trust and who have helped me nurture my creativity. I have had great support from the Gay Photographers’ Network and took part in the group’s official exhibition during Pride London’s 2010 Festival Fortnight. Many of the images in the show did have desire and sexuality as an important focus – or what I might call ‘men in (or out of) pants’ pictures – which are no surprise especially given the history of state criminalisation of queer behaviour: for some gay photographers these images would have been dangerous to imagine and make when they were younger.

Yet for me, my work comes from a different place inside me, even though it is informed by my experiences of gender and sexuality as a queer man. For example, I do believe that creating sanctuary to rescue, care and protect the unwanted can be a queer dynamic, with both its underlying truth of doing for others what you really need for yourself and reflected in the large numbers of women and LGBT people who run and support animal sanctuaries throughout the UK.

I am proud that my work challenges the gendered view that farmed animals are dull, dumb, domestic (feminine) creatures of little interest compared to the excitement of studying dangerous, unpredictable, powerful (masculine) animals in the wild. As ever, reality is more complicated. Domesticated animals have complex emotional worlds, for example, pigs crave affection and are easily depressed if isolated or denied the chance to play with each other and chickens can anticipate future events and exercise self-control (bless them).

I believe that key LGBT cultural events in the capital such as Pride London, the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, LGBT History Month and GFEST – Gaywise FESTival have a crucial role to play, alongside vibrant clubs, the alternative scene and voluntary groups in offering opportunities for artists to have exposure and develop their art, as they would want to rather than merely following popular stereotypes of ‘gay art’.

Yet, as someone who has always been involved in community life, I do not want to be pigeon-holed as a male, queer or vegan artist: everyone can have a response to my images as they raise universal questions. What is it like for us to look an individual cow, sheep, pig or chicken in the eye? How do we imagine farmed animals experience the world? And how can these animals, especially those living on animal sanctuaries, who have often experienced great acts of violence themselves, spark memories, empathy and imagination in us all?

Neil Young’s solo show ‘You, like me: intimate portraits of farmed animals’ is on between 3rd and 31st October 2010 at First Out Ca Bar. Neil invites you to visit the show and for more information check: http://www.firstoutcafebar.com/page9.htm and from 5 Octoberhttp://www.neilyoungphotography.co.uk

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More info on GFEST – Gaywise FESTival (GFEST in short) web: http://www.gaywisefestival.org.uk
GFEST Artistic Director: Niranjan Kamatkar

WISE THOUGHTS is an arts charity that organises GFEST – Gaywise FESTival  in venues across London.
GFEST web networks: http://www.wisethoughts.org http://www.gaywisefestival.org.uk http://www.facebook.com/niranjan.kamatkar http://www.gaywisefestival.blogspot.com/ http://twitter.com/gfest https://gaywisefestival.wordpress.com/ http://www.yoursemotionally.com/ http://www.myspace.com/interviewwithapolitician http://www.flickr.com/photos/gfest/ http://www.youtube.com/user/wisethoughts http://uk.linkedin.com/in/niranjankamatkar http://www.myspace.com/gaywisefestival