The S Word

A conversation on the changing visual landscape of intimacies and desire in Indian Cinema, image & contemporary art.

Gallery Engendered SPACE presents The S Word : A conversation on the changing visual landscape of intimacies and desire in Indian Cinema, image & contemporary art. With participants Onir, Poorna Jagannathan, Nandita Das (TBC), Mithu Sen, Radhika Singh, Rosalyn D’Mello, Anne Philpott
(An Engendered Salon Series Event)

April 5, 2012
6:00 – 7:00 pm: Closing Reception with artists of the current exhibition ‘Can You See Me?’ 
7:00 – 9:00 pm: Panel Discussion ‘The S Word’ 

Venue : Engendered SPACE, 125 A, IInd Floor Next to Bookwise, Shahpurjat New Delhi – 49

Free Entry, however venue limitation requires us to have a strict RSVP policy, please let us know at or phone 011-40539738.

About The Panel
We live in a visual culture. Images shape our desires, the way we think and the manner in which we connect and interact with the world around us. These images come flying at us through cinema, magazine covers, the media, art exhibitions and increasingly the internet. Sensuality and sexuality is inherent in these images, making it impossible to ignore their messaging around desired bodies, contraband desires. Has contemporary art offered narratives of resistance and subversion or has the art world also been subsumed or subject to the same messaging? Sex on film, tv & art has been banned, censored, edited, and destroyed by those deeming the content to be obscene or immoral. This conversation will trace the way sex and sexual imagery have historically and currently impacted our visual culture, social standards, mores and behaviors. It will further explore the emergent new visual vocabulary and the potential that they have to augment our visual capability. How does the intimate and personal become political? How do images reveal newer ways of understanding? How can we see beyond the provocation of the ‘S’ word?

About the Participants

Onir. Critically acclaimed Director for ‘ I Am’ (2012 National Award for Best Film) , and ‘My Brother Nikhil’ film, one of the first mainstream Hindi films to deal with AIDS and same-sex relationships.

Poorna Jagannathan.Lead actress for ‘Delhi Belly’, Femina Award Winner 2012, Stardust Max Award winner for Breakthrough Performance, 2012

Nandita Das (TBC*): an award-winning Indian film actress and director. She is known for her performances in Fire, Earth and others. Her directorial debut Firaaq has won a number of national and international awards. She has been awarded the Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the Government of France for her work. Nandita Das was the first Indian to be inducted into their International Women’s Forum’s hall of fame. *To be Confirmed

Mithu Sen. Contemporary Multimedia artist known for her subversive work on gender and sexuality. Winner of Skoda Prize for Excellence 2011

Radhika Singh. Founder of Fotomedia, Delhi’s first photo library and International Photography Curator

Rosalyn D’Mello New Media Writer on Culture, Art, Gender & Politics consultant to Zubaan, India’s first feminist publishing house, and editor of Venus Flytrap, India’s first anthology of women’s erotica. She is currently Editor-in-Chief of ARTINFO India and is working on her first book.

Anne Philpott has been working in public health for 20 years; working in the UK, South Africa, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Mongolia and elsewhere. She has specialised in sexual health, child malnutrition and pro poor health systems reforms and has been published in the Lancet, Washington Post, Reproductive health Matters, Playboy and the UK Guardian. She has founded the Pleasure Project in 2004 to build bridges between the pleasure and public health industries- highlights so far include the Erotic Oscar, introducing condoms to porn and getting sex educators to talk about how safer sex can be great sex.

About The Engendered Salon Series
A series of community arts events which extend the dialogue from the annual multidisciplinary arts & human rights festivals and signature events hosted by Engendered, to various venues in New Delhi. The Salon Series continues Engendered’s mission to use the arts to explore the complex realities of gender and sexuality in modern South Asia, raise awareness, act as a fulcrum to enter public dialogue and break silences, impact perceptions around issues of gendered identities, stereotyping, bias, and sexual choice, and further relate these issues to the affirmation or violation of human rights.

About SPACE Engendered
The gallery is envisioned as an alternative space for cultural intervention, a place for artistic production and critical dialog. Through cutting edge multidisciplinary programming spanning the visual, performative, cinematic and literary arts of South Asia the gallery hopes to accelerate a culture of human rights awareness while accentuating marginal themes, issues and sexualities. What do the aesthetics of gender and sexuality tell us about South Asia? How could new narratives and new perspectives in these aesthetics raise new questions and discussions? Through visual arts, cinema, text and performances SPACE Engendered will constantly feature the most vital voices asking these questions. In their asking lies the political and aesthetic act that take issues of gender and sexuality past their contemporary limits. The hope is to highlight not just what is being said but also fight the silences that still abound within these conversations. Ranging from independent to mainstream, alternative to pop, classic to avant-garde, the SPACE will feature a dynamic selection from the entire continuum of South Asian arts.

Media Contacts:

Engendered: Sukanya Ayde, 9811490355,

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About the author


Broom lived an ordinary, boring, unhappy and married life till she met the woman that she fell madly in love with at the age of twenty eight. By day, she is a techie. By night - a Walking Dead addict, London exploring, rainbow-loving, champagne socialist.