Kadak Collective is thrilled to launch ‘The Reading Room’, as part of Gender Bender 2016! This is the online showcase of the work being exhibited at the Goethe-Institut Bangalore on September 3rd and 4th.

The Reading Room features eight new pieces created for Gender Bender 2016, which include graphic shorts, mini-comic zines, visual essays and illustrated stories — all exploring different aspects of gender and gender identity across India, post-Brexit UK and the Philippines.

Settle in for a read. Silence, please.

The Reading Room, Goethe Institut, Max Mueller Bhavan, Bangalore


‘Aloe Vera and The Void’ by Renuka Rajiv and Aarthi Parthasarathy, is a work in progress — it is a series of reflections about belief, god and exclusion. The first chapter records a conversation with Purushi — a transgender woman who lives in Bangalore.

‘Shifting’ by Pavithra Dikshit is a series of visual essays on the mental shifts that Indian women make in the face of fixed labels, perceptions and attitudes.

‘Alone but not Lonely’ by Akhila Krishnan is a piece that explores gender and choice — specifically, the pressure women are put under to get married and have children — and those that choose not to do so.

‘Everything Drag’ by Janine Shroff is a piece that illustrates her personal understanding of drag, societal perceptions, as well as cultural legends and myths about gender roles and power.

‘Personal (Cyber)Space’ by Mira Malhotra and Aarthi Parthasarathy, is an animated short comic about sexism and social media. It shows how sometimes as women, we hold back our reactions because of what we see out there.

‘Misfits by Kaveri Gopalakrishnan is a series of standalone short comics, which offer a humorous insight into the societal expectations that are placed on women’s bodies and appearances.

‘Boy-cut’ by Garima Gupta is a graphic short story about how hair length defines gender and identity. This documents her personal experience of having chopped off her hair recently for convenience and comfort on a work trip in Indonesia, and having different people question and comment on her appearance.

‘IN — OUT: Gender through the Brexit Lens’ by Aindri Chakraborty and Valentino Vecchietti is a short graphic story about intersectional gender identity and the politics of binary. The protagonist takes us through the strange parallels between the Brexit In-Out referendum and their own intersex identity.


Renuka Rajiv is an artist based out of Bangalore. She chronicles themes such as physicality, notions of family, relationships, portraits of people, events through her visual and material-based explorations.

Aarthi Parthasarathy is a Bangalore-based filmmaker and writer. She is part-founder of the creative studio Falana Films, which brings together the streams of filmmaking, art, design, music and social change.

Kaveri Gopalakrishnan is an independent comics maker and illustrator. Her comics explore themes of gender, nature, self-understanding and daily observations.

Janine Shroff is an illustrator & designer who works both in India & London. Her work explores a range of themes including birth, pregnancy, relationships, sexual identity and gender.

Pavithra Dikshit is a typographer, designer and artist presently working at Landor Mumbai. She is 1/3 Postcard People and 1/8 of Kadak. Explorations in the cross-sections of life and design, within the Indian context, outline a major part of her practice as a designer.

Mira Malhotra is a visual artist and graphic designer based in Mumbai, India. The founder of Studio Kohl by day, her personal work is a celebration of Indian women and their daily lives, from the ornaments they wear to the items they shop for in the bazaar.

Akhila Krishnan is an illustrator and comics artist who works between London and India. Her work is influenced by her background in film-making; with a strong emphasis on documentary and observational practice.

Garima Gupta is an illustrator and comic artist who works in Mumbai, India. She tells strange and curious stories that explore the nature of human entanglements with their environment, natural or otherwise.

Valentino Vecchietti is an independent academic, writer, and intersex activist. They have a lesbian, non-binary identity.

Aindri Chakraborty is an animator, illustrator and creator of the comics journalism blog ‘There Was A Brown Crow’. Her work examines different aspects of subcontinental socio-political culture and history, with wry observational and irreverent humour.

A big, big Thank You to Chaitanya Krishnan, Shalaka Pai and Deepa Rodrigues from Falana Films for the exhibition set-up and technical support!

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