Queer Frontiers: Aaditya Aggarwal with Ali Kazimi, John Greyson and Richard Fung
LOMAA is excited to welcome Aaditya Aggarwal for the seventh event in our Queer Frontiers series! Aggarwal has curated an online screening of Rex vs. Singh by Ali Kazimi, John Greyson and Richard Fung which will be available for viewing from November 21-28, 2021. Aggarwal will also host a virtual discussion on the work with all three artists!
Below you will find details about the event, curator, and artists. Please send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org with questions on accessibility or viewing.
Online Screening of Rex vs. Singh by Ali Kazimi, John Greyson and Richard Fung
Available Sunday, November 21 – Sunday, November 28, 2021
Screening can be found on https://vimeo.com/lomaa
Accessibility Note: Closed captioning available
Artist Talk: Aaditya Aggarwal with Ali Kazimi, John Greyson and Richard Fung
Sunday, November 28, 2021 at 1 p.m. ET
Advance registration is required and the Zoom link to attend the talk will be provided within the Eventbrite confirmation email.
Accessibility Note: ASL interpretation and Zoom captions will be available during the talk
Update January 18, 2022: The video recording (with ASL and closed captioning available) of the discussion between Rex vs. Singh curator Aaditya Aggarwal and artists Ali Kazimi, John Greyson and Richard Fung is available for viewing until Friday, January 21, 2022 on LOMAA’s Vimeo page: https://vimeo.com/667073524. As well, please see the newly added Curator’s Recommended Readings & Media section below.
Rex vs. Singh | Experimental/Documentary | 2008 | 29 min | Directors: Ali Kazimi, John Greyson and Richard Fung
In 1915, two Sikh mill workers Dalip Singh and Naina Singh were entrapped by undercover police in Vancouver and accused of sodomy. This experimental video stages scenes from their trial, told four times: first as a period drama, second as a documentary investigation of the case, third as a musical agit-prop, and fourth, as a deconstruction of the actual court transcript.
Dalip and Naina were arrested one year after the infamous Komogata Maru incident in which the Japanese owned ship and its 376 would-be immigrant passengers from British India, mostly Sikhs, were turned back after sitting in Vancouver harbour for two months without being allowed to land. The South Asians, all British subjects, had hoped to challenge a systemically racist regulation that required potential immigrants to undergo a “continuous journey” from their country of origin, an impossibility deliberately created for people from the sub-continent.
Between 1909 and 1929, an inordinate number of men tried for sodomy in Vancouver were Sikhs. Based on the 1915 case, Rex vs. Singh is a speculative exploration of the interplay between homophobia and racism in this little known chapter of Canadian history.
“In the spring of 1915, the air in the Supreme Court of British Columbia is thick with anticipation and rumour. The legal structure’s high ceilings and mahogany-tiled floors contain two suspects: Naina Singh and Dalip Singh. The two Sikh mill workers have been accused by undercover police of committing “immoral” acts of buggery and sodomy. Their public trial reveals itself as a performance of players. Hallucinations of criminality, camp, and confession collide. Seriously satirizing the palpable tumult of a cinematic whodunnit, Rex vs Singh rings with terror, humour and inquiry. The work questions, in its course — the framing of testimony, the veracity of disclosure, and the making of a foreigner.”
Curator’s Recommended Readings & Media:
- Harjant Gill’s Sent Away Boys (2016)
- Nayan Shah’s Stranger Intimacy: Contesting Race, Sexuality, and the Law in the North American West (Read a review by Kritika Agarwal here)
- Transnational hair (and turban): Sikh masculinity, embodied practices, and politics of representation in an era of global travel by Harjant Gill
- Placing the Transnational Urban Migrant by Margaret Walton-Roberts and Harjant Gill
- Deepali Dewan’s We’ll Take Your Artifacts But Not Your People
- Richard Fung’s Dirty Laundry
- Ali Kazimi’s Undesirables: White Canada and the Komgata Maru
- Ali Kazimi’s Continuous Journey
- John Greyson’s Fig Trees
- Jagdeep Raina’s Waiting for Nothing
- Gloria Ho’s portraits of Komagata Maru passengers
- The Diaspora that Never Happened, Aaditya Aggarwal
- Decolonizing Visual Anthropology by Harjant Gill
- How Milind Soman Made Me Gay: Exploring Issues of Belonging and Citizenship amongst Gay South Asian Men in Diaspora by Harjant Gill
Aaditya Aggarwal is a writer, editor and film curator based in Toronto and New Delhi. He has formerly worked in administrative, marketing and curatorial roles at Mercer Union, Images Festival, Regent Park Film Festival, Toronto Reel Asian Film Festival and TIFF. Aaditya has contributed writing to Canadian Art, The New Inquiry, Rungh Magazine, Ethnic Aisle, Trinity Square Video, South Asian Visual Arts Centre, Koffler Digital and FADO Performance Art Centre, among other outlets. His work seeks to blur the lines between creative nonfiction and narrative forms.
Ali Kazimi‘s films have received over thirty national and international awards including a Gemini and two Genie nominations. His work has been screened in dozens of festivals and broadcast on many networks. His films include Runaway Grooms (2005), Continuous Journey (2004), Shooting Indians (1998) and Narmada: A Valley Rises (1994). He teaches at York University.
John Greyson is a Toronto video/film artist. Since 1984, his many features, shorts and transmedia works have explored such queer activist issues as police violence, prison, AIDS activism, solidarity, homo-nationalism and apartheid (both South African and Israeli). These include International Dawn Chorus Day (2021), Mercurial (2018), Gazonto (2016), Murder in Passing (2013), Fig Trees (2009), Lilies (1996), Zero Patience (1993), The Making of Monsters (1991) and Urinal (1989).
Richard Fung a Trinidad-born, Toronto-based video artist and writer. His most recent works are Dal Puri Diaspora (2012), Re: Orientations (2016) and Nang by Nang (2018). He is Professor Emeritus in the Faculty of Art at OCAD University.
LOMAA’s Queer Frontiers critically reflects on Canada’s 50th anniversary celebration of the purported “decriminalization” of homosexuality in the country. Serving as a counter to the state revelries, LOMAA will host eight artists, artist duos, or curators who have established practices post-legislation and remain on the frontiers of Canadian queer media. This project centres queer narratives and praxis as a means to interrogate historical representation and continue fortifying queer futures within this country.
For more background information please visit: https://anti-69.ca/
LOMAA would like to thank Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council and the London Arts Council for their support of this program and their continued backing, as well as our partner Pleasure Dome.