Ecological issues are focus of Queer Arts Festival in Jaffna

21 – 30, October 2022

Following its inaugural edition last November, Jaffna Queer Festival (JQF) returns this year with a focus on queer ecology. Designed as an experimental, interdisciplinary response increasing food insecurity and malnutrition in Sri Lanka, the festival’s second edition will present pathways to re-imagine and re-engage with nature and our relationship to it.

With specially commissioned artworks and an installation, JQF 02 will present a 10-day program of discussions, film screenings, seminars, and workshops. In a bold move away from the offline-online hybrid delivery format of the inaugural edition, JQF 02 will carry a deliberate emphasis on place and somatic presence. Workshops and activities delivered through the festival will invite attendees to interact directly with plant materials. The onsite programming at the main festival venue (Kälam, 50 Kandy Road, Jaffna) will be accompanied by a volunteer-run café, bookshop, and a reading/activity corner. The space will also at times double as a community kitchen, and a nursery/seed bank/plant exchange program. Through collaborative social action and artistic intervention, the festival yet again seeks to test and prototype queer possibilities of collaboration, community, and togetherness.

A key highlight of JQF 02 will be the participation of invited international talents. The festival is thrilled to be hosting the launch of writer/poet Gireesh’s exciting new Tamil translation  ‘Kadhalenum Peungadal’ (English Original: ‘Ocean of Love’ by Martin Frank). Published in India by Queer Chennai Chronicles, Gireesh’s translation brings to light a tale of Carnatic music, illicit love and friendship set in 1970’s Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu.

In addition to the on-site programing at Kälam, this year’s program is set to take visitors on off-site excursions and tours. The off-site excursions into neighboring districts, delivered in partnership with local organizers, are aimed at strengthening the festival’s ongoing commitment to creating and developing collaborative networks in the region.

This year’s festival is accompanied by a print publication to mark the program and associated interventions. A free copy of the publication will be available at the main festival venue and at our sponsor locations.

JQF is conceived and directed by writer Kasro Ponnuthurai. Kasro, a poet and a veterinary surgeon by profession, has nearly half a decade of coordinating efforts on the LGBTQI+ frontline. Festival’s cultural programming including the visual arts component are curated by artist and writer Hari Rajalechumy. JQF’s 2022 film program is curated and presented by independent filmmaker A. M. Ashfaque.

JQF is entirely an independent, Queer-led, volunteer-run festival. The programming is generously supported by a grant from Goethe Institut, Sri Lanka. Project operations are supported by JQF Supporter Circle. The festival is also deeply indebted to support from Kälam – a space for cultural encounters, Venpa Bookstores, and FoldMedia Collective.

Festival announcements and updates can be followed  on social media via the handle Jaffna Queer Festival (JQF) Instagram

Festival Calendar

யாழ்ப்பாணத்தில் நடக்கவிருக்கும் குயர் விழாவில் சூழலியல் கரிசனைகள் பேசுபொருளாகின்றன