Vivek Shraya is unapologetically herself. Not only is she a talented multidisciplinary artist and author—with a wicked selfie game to match—but she is unafraid of exploring vulnerability. Shraya's latest video, "Part Time Woman," which features Alok Vaid-Menon and the musical stylings of the Queer Songbook Orchestra, is a cut off her album of the same name exploring the question: what defines woman?
The video, directed by Chelsea McMullan, uses a 16 mm film camera and embodies themes of nostalgia. It opens up with an apt, short and sharp poem about the gender violence of bodies being scripted incorrectly. "When I was writing the title track from my new album, Part-Time Woman, I often imagined shooting a video with Alok because of how much they have inspired my own journey," Shraya told Noisey via email.
Shraya's brilliant exploration of being unseen, by way of her lyrics, is juxtaposed with being seen through placing herself in the video alongside Vaid-Menon, who is also gender non-conforming. "Both Alok and I are forced to grapple with how our gender non-conformity renders us safe only in our homes or on stage, the latter emphasizing that our genders are merely a performance. The concept of this video was to subvert this idea of performance, by Alok and myself performing for each other in both of these spaces. This showcases the restorative power of being seen by another trans person, and the freedom that I am searching for in the final lyrics: "Part-time woman don't you know no one can tell you what you already know / if you only could let go."
Watch the powerful "Part-Time Woman" video above.
Sharine Taylor is a writer living in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter.