Priya Menon

Chennai: As an activist, she has been a beacon of hope for the transgender community .And now, she is using her passion and flair for art to give a new lease of life to a few deserving members. Transgender activist and founder of Sahodari Foundation Kalki Subramaniam, who recently turned artist, is selling her art work through the Bengaluru-based crowd-funding platform Fuel ADream to raise money for the education of four transgender women.“Almost everyday I get a call from a transgender person seeking help in their trans ition, and support their gender reassignment surgery .But I feel that the surgery alone will not help them lead a respectable life; many just wind up as beggars or sex workers,“ says Kalki, who is based in Pollachi, her hometown. “Only education will help them earn a living and a dignified life,“ she says.

To raise funds, she turned to her childhood love for art. “From a very young age, I have always expressed my thoughts through poetry and painting,“ says Kalki, who is a self-taught artist. But it was only two years ago, when her book of poetry , `Kuri Aruthean,’ was ready for publishing, that she reconnected with her artistic self. “I did illustrations for all the 25 poems in the book.And that is when I rediscovered myself as an artist,“ says Kalki, who then tied up with to launch her campaign. Kalki, who works with acrylics, water colours and oil pastels, has done 15 watercolours, 20 acrylic paintings and a number of pastel works so far. Her painting are of people, their stark faces reflecting their inner self. “I love art that speaks about human emotions, of love, acceptance, compassion, equality and positivity,“ she says, adding that every work of hers is a special journey . “I try to portray all sides of the human self. My paintings are also about the beauty of animals and nature,“ says Kalki, who has exhibited her works at Thiruvananthapuram, Coimbatore and Bangalore. Her vivid, colourful pain tings have evoked a positive response and she has sold five large acrylic paintings, raising `1.25 lakh of the target of `2 lakh.

The money will help educate Anu, who wants to appear for the IELTS exam; Lalita to continue pursuing a career in nursing; Kotravai to enroll for undergraduate studies and Maitreyi to finish her higher secondary education. “I chose these four people as they have a passion to learn, the determination to lead a respectable life, and also the willingness and generosity to help others when they are in a position to do so,“ says Kalki.