Does Your House Have Lions (2021) is a 48 minute film by Delhi-based poet vqueeram and Los Angeles based artist Vishal Jugdeo. Shot like cinéma-vérité, the piece moves around friends and lovers vqueeram lives with. It documents Delhi, Bombay and Goa, during the time-period of January 2019 to September 2020, and speaks to an intensified political atmosphere in India. This film is just one iteration of an ongoing collaborative process between vqueeram and Jugdeo; an earlier work VQUEERAM was featured on MOCA SCREEN in 2018.
vqueeram is a researcher and teacher. They live and love in Delhi. Jugdeo is an interdisciplinary artist, he is assistant professor in art at UCLA.
One day in the late sixties, I was on the phone with
Rahsaan and mentioned to him that just that day I had
bought a house. He responded by asking, “Does your
house have lions?” I said, “What?” He said, “Lions. You
know, like in front of a museum or the post office. You
know, concrete lions. My house has lions. Get a house
from the Rahsaan Roland Kirk Anthology
Sonia Sanchez’s book of poems for the many sisters who lost their brothers to HIV/AIDS, ‘Does your House have Lions?’, begins with this excerpt. Sanchez blurs friendship and family, tossing humour into grief, troubling history with memory. In titling her book after a found quote - at once a theft and a gift - Sanchez offers a practice of being without property, of naming without debt, of abolishing in the most ordinary.
Borrowing our film’s title from Sanchez, we share in the happenstance of words and how we meet each other in living and dying. All the while, we grasp, regard and dream.
Filmed over four years, this video document is an archive of friendship - near, far and displaced; interrupted by sex, politics, and abandonment. These scenes hold unlikely alliances and wayward relations in the middle of fear and hesitant futures. As love manifests its totalitarian tendencies and loss is capacious, we imagine a practice of freedom.
–vqueeram and Vishal
February 26, 2021, Delhi and LA
Vishal Jugdeo is an interdisciplinary artist who works with video, installation, performance and sculpture to construct experimental approaches to narrative. He has exhibited widely including solo exhibitions at the ICA Philadelphia, LAXART, Los Angeles, Western Front, Vancouver and 18th Street Arts Center, Santa Monica. Commissioned works have been featured in Performa, New York and Made in LA at the Hammer Museum. Jugdeo is a 2015 Guggenheim Foundation Fellow, and has received major project funding from the Canada Council for the Arts. Jugdeo is Assistant Professor in New Genres in the UCLA Department of Art.
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Virtual MOCA is presented by the MOCA Thrive Fund courtesy of Chara Schreyer.
Education at MOCA courtesy of Terri and Michael Smooke. Additional support provided by The Hearst Foundations, Blum & Poe, and Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation.