Chennai: Sahodaran’s annual fundraiser calendar celebrates a milestone with a collector’s edition

Chennai-based organisation Sahodaran working with the LGBTQIA+ community, is back with its annual special tribute calendar, this time, celebrating 15 years of fundraising

Published - July 11, 2024 10:59 am IST

A good calendar is more than just a compilation of pretty images; it tells a story. Sahodaran’s annual calendar does this and more. The organisation, which is working with members of the LGBTQIA+ community in Chennai, showcases South Indian men, often dressed in traditional outfits featuring Gujarat’s Kutch embroidery, Chanderi handlooms, and Kanjeevaram cotton, among others. These images are shot amidst Nature in locations like Hampi, parts of Kerala like Kovalam, Kolkata and more.

Each year since 2010, a different theme has been chosen, and the calendar  is conceptualised and directed by founder Sunil Menon. “Our well-wishers always look forward to these calendars, and the response has been great since inception,” he says. 

The themes over the years have ranged from textiles, Nature, and culture to specific dance forms, and musical instruments. They are professionally styled, directed and photographed. The calendar has helped raise funds for awareness and aid for HIV/AIDS-related work for the sexual minorities community.

Sunil, who has a background in fashion, has been involved in the styling and makeup of the models. “It was a surprise to everyone when it worked out so well in its first year itself, because we have only seen beautiful girls on calendars. Suddenly there were boys,” he laughs. 

“This year, I decided to do a tribute to everyone who has contributed towards the calendar in the last 14 years,” says Sunil, adding that he decided to compile one image from each year since the beginning, to put together a unique collector’s item. “I was unwell last year and passed the deadline for shooting, so couldn’t put together a new theme.”

“This is the 15th year. What we must remember is that this has been a collaborative effort and people have supported me since the beginning. When I came up with the concept as a fundraiser, I did not know if it would succeed,” he says. 

The calendar has always focussed on giving a platform to talent from southern India because Sahodaran is among the oldest organisations in the region that supports the LGBTQIA+ community. “Each of the models, the stylists, and even the photographers are all allies. They worked on the projects for free because it was for a cause,” says Sunil, adding that initially models were sceptical to be associated with Sahodaran because of the stigma attached to the community, but as the years went by, talent came forward to contribute on their own accord.

This year’s calendars are available in limited numbers and will be available in three formats — wall calendar (₹3,000), desktop (₹4,000) and easel stand (₹5,000). Contact 9444966000 to place your orders. 

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