All posts filed under: published

Love and sex in Khajuraho

  Drawn by the promise of explicit sex scenes carved from sand stone, millions of tourists come to Khajuraho every year. The temples of Khajaraho weren’t discovered until the British ruled the country and an English man was sent out to map India’s most central state; Madhya Pradesh. Thanks to T S Burt’s discovery in 1838, shopkeepers, restaurant owners and rickshaw drivers today can make a living from the hordes of tourists that come to this otherwise sleepy town. I can only imagine what it must have felt like for this proper English gentleman to uncover the carvings from thick jungle branches. Did they make him blush? For even the most liberal thinkers some scenes are quite shocking. Even the little book that I picked up for 60 rupees at the entree seems to struggle with promoting the monument. Out of all the pictures of the temple in the book, not one of them shows a couple having sex. Though there are many on the temples and all the tourist try their best to located …

Maldives: Drawings in the sand

Politics in sand Maldivian artist Afzal Shaafiu Hasan has brought his island country’s traditions to all his art – his paintings, sketches, and even to the national postage stamps he’s designed.  But its his most recent medium that’s made him a sensation.  It seems only fitting that he should use sand – the fine white sand of the famous  tourist resorts that most people know the Maldives from – to express the beauty and pain surrounding his people. Sand activist When the democratically elected president Nasheed was ousted during a Coup on the 7th of February, people took to the streets protesting against the new regime. The images of the police lashing out at the protesters are engraved on the collective memory of Maldivians though largely unknown to the rest of the world. The slide show below is an illustration of the captivating performance art that Hasan creates with nothing more than light, shadows and sand, conjuring an eerily lifelike rendition of the violence that wracked his people during the coup.  He named the piece Baton Day.  

Nepal’s first transgender politician on a mission

When Bhumika Shrestha was little she loved to dress up in her mother’s clothes and wear her sister’s lipstick. Her parents did not see a problem in their son wanting to dress-up. He was just a little kid after all. But Bhumika, then called Kailash, didn’t grow out of it. When she became a teenager she knew for sure that she didn’t want to be a boy anymore, but a lady. “My family gave me a boy’s name, Kailash. I didn’t like it because when I grew up my feelings and my way of thinking was totally a woman. I didn’t know why, but I felt like a girl,” says Bhumika Shrestha. Identity Last year the Nepalese government announced it would be the first country to include a third gender in its national census. It was a landmark announcement that citizens no longer had to conform to either the male or female box on the questionnaire. But unfortunately, to date this census has not resulted in a clear count of transgender people in Nepal. The Blue …