Kalki Subramaniam started to draw and pen when she was 8 years old. And during her teen years, it was art that pacified and healed her from her the bullying and trauma at school. She wrote poetry and painted pictures to express herself at young age.
‘The pen, paper and paint brush were my solace. They were my soulmates from childhood” says Kalki.
It was only 30 years later, in 2016, she took the palette and colours to find her deeper self again. She began to paint a series of water colours with vibrant fluorescent paints. Art curator Latha Kurian Rajeev saw her works of art and was immediately caught. She arranged for a solo exhibition in Trivandrum for Kalki named ‘Piece by piece’. The show first opened first in Trivandrum then in Coimbatore. All of Kalki’s artworks were sold out. 40% of the funds raised through sale of the artworks were donated by her to the young and needy transgender persons for pursuing their education.
Kalki paints mostly with palette knife and few of her artworks have been with brushworks. Her favourite are acrylic fluorescent paints. Most of her artworks can be categorised as pop art, she also mixes pop art and cubism in her works. Her artworks have been bought by art collectors in USA, Canada and Europe.
In 2019 Kalki became ambassador of TransAmsterdam.
Here is a list of her previous art exhibitions:
June 2016 – Piece by Piece, Alliance Francaise Trivandrum
July 2016 – Piece by Piece, Arthouz, Coimbatore
June 2017 - Transhearts Art Exhibition, Arthouz, Coimbatore
October 2018 – Mohini, Arthouz, Coimbatore
April 2019 – The Shut Up Show, British Council, Chennai
June 2019 – Maya by Kalki, The Manor, Amsterdam
November 2019 – Diva – digital artworks of Sridevi, The Promenade, Puducherry
February 2021 – We are Not the Others. Bangalore
April 2022 – Untitled, Method Art Gallery, Mumbai
May 2022 - Koffee with Kalki, Koffee Stop, Pollachi
In 2008, she found the Sahodari Foundation and initiated the Thoorikai project, through which she teaches and motivates transgender people to pursue art and creativity for livelihood and personal wellness. More than 500 hundred people have participated in her art training sessions and around many of their artworks have been sold.
Kalki has exhibited her paintings in many countries in Asia, North America and Europe. She also promotes other under privileged transgender persons’ artworks along with hers and brings a visibility to their talents across the globe.
In November 2021, Univerversity of Florida’s Department of Women and Gender Studies chose six transgender artists’ artworks to be exhibited in their campus for the exhibition ‘Visibility & Remembrance’, a true recognition for the Tamilnadu artists.
Kalki has won several awards for her art and activism and continues to foray in to the art medium creatively with new projects. She currently pursues her wearable art experimenting in different fabric fusing art in to fashion.
Know more about Kalki through her website: www.kalkisubramaniam.com