The barge she sat in, like a burnished throne/Burned on the water (from the hijra fantasy series)
I started this body of work thinking about queer lives in the Indian context. For the last two years I have been working with the hijra (MTF transsexual) community from Bombay and Bangalore. In some sense, for many of us (LGBTQ people), our desires are lived in the realm of fantasy or hidden from the public eye. I wanted to breathe life into some of these fantasies. I started to speak with individuals, with whom i had developed a close relationship, about their desires and how they saw themselves in a fantastic world. What would they be if they had the choice to be whatever they wished to be? This is a photograph of Laxmi, a very well known hijra, human rights activist based in Bombay. Laxmi is obsessed with Cleopatra and expressed the wish to become her. Extended conversations and research preceded the conceiving of this image. I have tired to retain as much of Laxmi's personality in this contemporary, queer and Indian version of Cleopatra.