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Tehai: An Interdisciplinary Art Initiative

: 2018
Head of organisation
: Akramul Momen
Contact Persons
: Akramul Momen
Contact Persons Email

About the organisation

Tehai is an interdisciplinary art initiative aims to pilot new approaches to contemporary art scenario of Bangladesh. It embodies a crossover between several disciplines and offers an independent stage for activist artistes. It is also available to rent or collaborate on workshops, rehearsals and performances.
It is a community for/with art lovers, liberal, and passionate people in Dhaka, Bangladesh. We have a micro studio with space to showcase and experiment practices. We also offer space for all kind of activist artists from all over the world to work, exhibit, collaborate, discuss and simply live.
Tehai was started in 2018. It is a non-profit platform for independent artists. It mainly sheds lights on social justice related issues as part of its activism. Over the last two years, it has been working on political and social issues, gender crisis and religious fundamentalism through art, film, literature and theatre. At present, Tehai has several ongoing projects those strongly view to raise a voice against the offences in society for the marginalised people. To place more activist artists with Tehai, it organises or collaborate with sexually marginalised people to celebrate Transgender Remembrance Day. It is also working with Mondro and Bonhishikha with several queer events.

Tehai also aims to build a humanoid bridge between the activist artists from all over the world.

SRHR publications/research

Tehai’s Research
Though Tehai is still at its beginning point, it has several art initiatives that can directly or indirectly relate to the ‘sexual and reproductive health and rights or SRHR. Here are briefs of some initiatives conducted by the Tehai:
“Exploring Identities through Performing Bodies”: It was a collaborative programme conducted by Portugal-based queer artist Diniz Sanchez. The workshop was attended by several queer activists and transgender sex workers. They told their stories through performance at an event at Goethe-Institut auditorium after a week-long workshop. The initiative was helpful for them to understand how the performance art can be a tool to express themselves without being a professional artist.
‘Who will own Xulhaz?’ is a performance conducted by Tehai at the Liberation War Museum in Dhaka at a theatre festival organised by BotTala. It is based on an interview given by Minhaz Mannan, elder brother of murdered LGBTIQ rights activist Xulhaz Mannan. In a question about the statement of Bangladesh Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni, who is a cousin of them, Minhaz made the reply with a question-‘Who will own Xulhaz in such a socio-political context of Bangladesh?
The title of the performance was taken from the question directly.
Antardhan: ‘A land where humanity is disappeared’
It is a performance based on the bravery and sufferings of Labannya, a transgender woman of Bangladesh who likes to introduce herself as a ‘Hijra’. She was praised and awarded for nabbing two terrorists in the killing of Oyasiqur Rhaman, who was a free thinker and blogger, in 2016. But threats and fears have forced her to leave the country. The performance was held at the Shoparjito Shadhinota Chattar in Dhaka University in an event organised by Sangat.
Nona Gang is a recital performance by Tehai based on a queer novel containing the same title. The novel is based on three separate conversations narrating the realities of hidden queer community in Bangladesh. It was written and directed by Chattogram-based artist Bhandari Arif.
‘Poethics & Publishing: A Collective Writing’ is an ongoing initiative of Tehai conducted by Germany-based artist ‎Sven Simulacrum‎. It aims to collectively develop a series of ‘poethical’ texts that respond to day-to-day lives and social struggles of the people of contemporary Bangladesh. In this workshop we explore how poetry can convey ethics and how ethical practices prompt poetic forms, approaching language as a tool to selectively obscure or reveal. It is realised collectively, following the principle that ‘one person cannot know everything but together we know a lot.’