“During the pandemic, a lot of people were grappling with their sexuality and many came out during that time. This is something that happened with me too, which is why I titled the event ‘Almirah’. It’s my coming-out-of-the-almirah show,” laughs Avril Stormy Unger.
The multi-disciplinary artist who shuttles between Bengaluru and Goa, adds that all the work she created during the pandemic not only features household items, but also private gestures such as humming, sewing, ironing, hammering nails and collecting water.
“The pandemic years, finding myself and my identity in isolation, enclosed within my kitchen and with other household items — these were significant parts of making these works and through the process of creating them I came to realise my sexuality, so it’s all interconnected,” she says.
“Another reason I named the work ‘Almirah,’ also a household item, is for its nostalgic value; people just don’t use that word anymore.”
‘Almirah’ is a four-part series comprising two videos and two performances. “ ’Mirage’ and ‘Untangle’ are video works which were commissioned to me by Oyoun, an organisation in Berlin, for the Embodied Arts Festival. Though these videos first came out in April 2021, they have not been shown in India till date.”
“In June 2020, I was commissioned to do a longer performance piece for Abr, an online platform for performances and digital works,on intimate partner violence. I’ve recorded one small part of it and that is called ‘Don’t Explain’,” Avril says, adding that while it was performed online and live at the India Art Fair in Delhi, she would be performing it for the first time in Bengaluru, over the weekend.
She says ‘I Do, Do I?’ is a whole new piece she has been meaning to perform for a very long time and it will premiere at ‘Almirah’ for the first time ever.
The music for ‘Untangle’ is by Bengaluru-based artiste Paro. “I absolutely love her music and wanted her to make the music for this piece. Paro is a singer and uses her voice in different ways to layer sound. ‘Untangle’ is a 31-minute film and the entire soundtrack is her voice.”
While Avril sings for ‘Don’t Explain,’ she is collaborating with Sultana Zana, an artist who shuttles between Delhi, Goa and Bengaluru, for ‘I Do, Do I?’. “Sultana will be live recording sounds and manipulating them as the performance unfolds,” says Avril.
The entire crew involved in the production of ‘Untangle’ and ‘Mirage’ are members of the queer community, she adds.
‘Almirah’ will feature the video works and performance art of Avril Stormy Unger at 1 ShantiRoad, Bengaluru on June 5 from 6 pm. Entry free.