In the Absence/Presence of Queer Bangladeshi Voices
Ata Mojlish | Ankur Sinha | Efadul Huq | Rasel Ahmed
Moving Memories, created in collaboration with South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA), is an oral history project that tells narratives of queer displacement and homemaking of Bangladeshi queer migrants residing in the U.S.
Moving Memories contains interviews with two groups. The first includes Bangladeshi queer migrants who moved for various reasons ranging from education, job, and others. The second documents and recovers memories of homemaking and displacement of gay men whose troubled relationship with Bangladesh originates in the 2016 murders of LGBT+ activists by the Al Qaeda of the Indian Subcontinent.
Suhaila - "I had already come out as queer and atheist. Then when I came out publicly as bisexual, my family came charging to my room. "
Huhu - "After coming back to Bangladesh, there weren’t a lot of people who looked like me. There were a lot of cis spaces and lot of gay men."
Artifact: Two 500 Taka notes : Received from his late grandmother as bokshish during korbanir eid. "I never touched that money. Ma always says that's for good luck." The notes are among the precious possessions Misha, a gay migrant, carried while traveling to the U.S. from Bangladesh.
Artifact, Ticket, Fridge Magnet
Artifact : books, postcards
Artifact, A globe replica. Presented to one of the participants' professor-mentor and current supervisor for Lavender Graduation (graduation ceremony for LGBTQ+ F&M grads)
Artifact, Diety.: Is something my mom gave to me when I first came to the US as a reminder to my Hindu roots
Artifact, Wallet : "Bought when I went back to Bangladesh the first time. I have been using it for around 6 years now. It reminds me of home and something I can keep with myself always."
Imran Sunny - "I was scared to find a sex partner in Dhaka after my boyfriend was murdered by Al-Qaeda."
Puja - "Growing up, my parents would always tell us, “This country [Bangladesh] is not for you."
Artifact, Birthday Card. from first year of college signed by peers.
Artifact, Postcard.: A postcard at the volunteer kitchen where Misha organized Bangladeshi dinner night.
Artifact, Shirt : Misha brought with him this shirt that Xulhaz Mannan gifted Misha.
This audiovisual exhibition took place in Nov 2022 at the Hopkins Hall Gallery of Ohio State Univerisity, activating queer Bangladeshi oral histories, reinterprets the archives of migration, displacement, immigration, and precarious experiences through a fragmented sensory landscape of audios and images. The exhibit makes visible the suppressed histories of queer Bangladeshi lives and challenges dominant notions of pink migration.
The exhibit extends Queer Archives of Bengal Delta’s ongoing archival work with Bangladeshi queer social and political histories. View the full oral histories on SAADA's website.
1. Faisal Misha - "Many years after my migration I realized I didn’t have a reason to leave Bangladesh."
2. Rasel Ahmed - "Even though I am at the bottom of the state protection in the U.S., being stateless feels liberating at times."
3. Indira Rahman - "It wasn’t that I rejected Bangladesh. It was that from the moment I was born, Bangladesh rejected me and people like myself."
4. Ahadujjaman - "Fishing is my life. Whenever I am stressed out, I go fishing. I find it very peaceful."
5. Nancy Haque - "I’d say I am from Bangladesh, but I am really not from there."
6. Sharmin Hossain - "Jackson Heights is my personality. It’s my politics, it’s my world."