Fighting HIV with Rainbow Fashion | Chennai News

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As a child, she began to play with colors as a form of self-expression. Later transactivist Kalki Subramaniam started using her art for activism. And now, she’s expanding the canvas by creating wearable artwork – printed on s, scarves, shirts and other garments – that will be sold to help HIV-positive members of her community.
“For more than 10 years, I have been using digital art in the context of the work carried out by the Sahodari Foundation”, explains Kalki, its founder. “For more than a year, I have been thinking about printing my works on clothes. Most are very vibrant as I favor fluorescent colors and use almost every shade in the palette. Many people wanted to own these clothes. Thus, as part of her new initiative, Kalika, she will create a limited edition with her works printed on scarves, stoles, s, cholis, half-saris, skirts, but also shirts, leggings and unisex clothing like sarongs. “I used crepe silk, organic cotton, raw silk, chiffon and viscose,” says Kalki.
“There is this affair that has always existed between art and fashion. First I will experiment with the saree as I find it to be the most beautiful costume in the world, and later I will bring stripped sand dresses,” she says.
“And I will start with my paintings of Frieda and Sridevi. Both are iconic women who died young. This is my tribute to these legends.
Kalika will be launched in the third week of June, which is Pride month, with a fashion show in Chennai followed by Kochi and Bengaluru. “It will be an inclusive show with people from the LGBT community as well as families and friends walking the ramp. “I also want people of all sizes to wear my clothes, and they will be sold through my website,” says Kalki, adding that 40% of sales proceeds will go to support HIV-positive trans people.
“It’s expensive to create these clothes, so I need money to find materials and get the artwork printed. The rest will go towards the cause; I’ve lost a lot of friends to illness. Some of the sexual health projects working for the community are not engaged enough and our own community members take things for granted. Despite awareness sessions, they think it’s okay not to take drugs. I want to ensure they get advice and treatment from the earliest stages.
Kalki also plans to take her wearable art overseas. “In September there will be a ramp show in the Netherlands, and in November another in New York and New Jersey,” she says. “I am looking to partner with institutions, designers and artists for this initiative.”
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