In December 2018, three artists Aryakrishnan (Aryan), Gee Semmalar and Raju Rage collaborated at the Kochi- Muziris Biennale to create an anti-performance as part of a work titled ‘Sweet Maria Monument’. The Sweet Maria monument was a space created by Aryakrishnan in memory of Sweet Maria, who was a well known political disrupter and everyday drama queen in Kerala. The Sweet Maria monument was in fact not a monument in the conventional sense of the word, it was an anti-monument- a reclamation of the fullness of our lives from the everyday necropolitics that condemns our bodies as disposable- as not yet dead/not deserving of life.
During the anti-performance, we shared conversations on trans death and life, the politics of performativity and refusal, performing acts of collective care whilst paying femmage to Maria. We performed acts of self and collective care, we ate and fed each other fruits and made an offering of chocolates to the audience, rubbed lotion and massaged each other, dragged up in makeup, lying on the bed and embracing each other. As well as carving an intimate safer space for trans and queer communality, in order to nurture ourselves and each other in the face of death, we interacted with and tended to an archive of queer and trans experience and knowledge/s whilst sharing our different yet shared lived experiences of being trans and queer transnationally. This opportunity allowed us to breathe together, grieve together, build together and heal together, where we could exist emotionally, unapologetically and in transparency about how we survive in the face of death - trans mourning and joy - as an act of resistance.