This spring, museums all across the Houston area will feature exhibits showcasing the beautiful and rich culture of India. While there are many LGBTQ-themed works, one of the standouts is The Contemporary Arts Museum’s show Dissent and Desire.

Dissent and Desire features photographs by renowned artists and collaborators Sunil Gupta and Charan Singh. The 47 photographs and firsthand accounts from the 17 unique storytellers depict a portrait of LGBTQ+ lives in India today. The viewer is given an unprecedented look into the daily routines, work and homes of people from different backgrounds in Dehli, the largest urban in India. 

In addition to the photographs, The Contemporary Arts Museum will present a video documenting the narratives of some of the individuals showcased in the photographs. And speaking as somebody who has already visited the exhibit, the video portion is just as intimate and powerful as the photos and should not be missed. Also, there are comfy pillows to lounge on in the room so that is always a plus. 

Gupta and Singh have created a tender mosaic of LGBTQ+ love and life in a country that has a checkered past with granting LGBT rights. Anti-sodomy laws dating back to the British Empire were only recently struck down in 2009 and then were restored after the Supreme Court reversed the ruling in 2013. As of August 24, 2017, the Supreme Court of India gave the LGBTQ+ community freedom to safely express their sexual orientation under a right to privacy law.

The show is the museum’s contribution to FotoFest 2018, the biennial exhibition that unites 120 art spaces across Houston under the theme INDIA: Contemporary Photography and New Media Art.

With Spring Break quickly approaching, Houstonians looking to take the time to visit the expansive Museum District should include The Contemporary Arts Museum on their list of must-visit museums. 

The free exhibit is on display from January 20 – April 29