Panel discussion: ‘Beautiful Fruit’: LGBTQI+ artists on challenging normativity

15 November 2018

Thu 15 Nov, 7.30 – 9pm
SPACE Mare Street
£3/£5 (price includes drinks)
Book here

Panelists: Katy Jalili, Gaby Sahhar & Charan Singh
Chair: Niranjan Kamatkar

SPACE and GFEST 2018 have partnered to bring you a panel discussion by contemporary visual artists that expand on this year’s GFEST theme #SociallyEQUAL. The event is part of GFEST and the exhibition that is currently on at SPACE, ♪ Here is a Strange and Bitter Crop ♪♪ by Soufiane Ababri.

The event takes its name, Beautiful Fruit, from the title of Ababri’s six intimate and erotically explicit drawings which are central to the exhibition. Beautiful Fruit connects the wider question of social equality for the LGBTQI+ community with Ababri’s work that aims to thwart oppressive social dynamics and normative gender roles by highlighting the influence of violence on the forms of art history and on cultural identities.

The panel discussion is chaired by GFEST and Wise Thoughts artistic director Niranjan Kamatkar and is hosted by SPACE. Artists on the panel, Katy Jalili, Gaby Sahhar and Charan Singh, will present their work and artistic practices in relation to the question ‘can LGBTQI+ people achieve full social equality?’ before discussing these ideas between themselves. This will be followed by a Q&A with the audience. The exhibition will be open late especially for attendees of the event.


Katy Jalili (Katayoun Jalilipour) is a genderqueer Iranian born multidisciplinary artist, performer and writer. Katy has previously written for Shades of Noir (2016-17) and now writes freelance. They graduated from Performance: Design and Practice at Central Saint Martins in 2017 (First class Hons) with a research focusing on how queer femme bodies claim a performance stage. Currently they're continuing their research on queer ancestry for people of diaspora which led to the making of their first short film #Familiar #Touch #Lost #Figures, screened both nationally and internationally. They are currently an artist in resident at Wotever World, where they are commissioned to make new performances showcased on a monthly basis at Royal Vauxhall Tavern. Katy was named as one of the top 5 queer artists in 2017 by i-D.

Gaby Sahhar is an artist whose works mostly takes the form of film, activism based painting and performance. There practise aims to analysis the power imbalances that occur within public and private space within London caused by forms toxic masculinity. Sahhar practise aims to expose How these traits of masculinity can filter through the architecture of the everyday within a city penetrating its landscape leading to ‘genderfication’ and oppression within queer communities in London. Sahhar is also founder of LGBTQi+ project space, artist support network and gallery: Queerdirect, in the past Sahhar has worked with galleries such as the TATE, Arcadia Missa, Almanac Projects and Somerset House.

Charan Singh (b. India, 1978) lives and works from New Delhi and London. He is currently a PhD candidate in Photography at the Royal College of Art, London. Singh’s photographic practice is informed by HIV/AIDS work and community activism in India, along with a formal study of the history of art and photography. He is interested in the representation of desires, identities, gender, sexualities, relationships, loss, trauma and recovery. Simultaneously, he questions notions of the genre of self portraiture, however the principal common thread of his works are memory, story telling, and masculinity. His work has been exhibited at Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi (2014), The Photographers Gallery, London (2015), FotoFest, Houston (2015), GFEST, London (2015) and SepiaEye, New York (2016).

Niranjan Kamatkar (b. India) is artistic director of Wise Thoughts, an issue-based arts charity working with LGBTQI+ and BAME artists, filmmakers, and practitioners, and London’s LGBTQI+ cross art annual event GFEST – Gaywise FESTival. He works tirelessly with leading organisations, such as the BFI, to showcase LGBTQI+ work and is an established filmmaker and artist in his own right.


GFEST – Gaywise FESTival® is recognised as an annual LGBTQI+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex +) cross-art celebration. Over the last 10 years the festival has presented LGBTQI+ films, music, performances, art exhibitions, interdisciplinary art, poetry, book reading, workshops, participatory events, debates, etc. events each November.


This event is supported by SPACE and jointly organised by the Wise Thoughts/GFEST team and SPACE.