By Jyotsna Dwivedi
Who is a stranger? This question becomes pertinent when it is applied to women. Our existential situation is the same even though we may be set apart from one another by layers of alienation and hatred based on religious ideologies. So are our fights. We are one in our Disenfranchisement, suffered violence, sexual exploitation, ignorance of our own sexuality and our fears.
But there are times when this strangeness – the feeling of otherhood that envelopes us – needs to urgently diffuse. It could happen in the face of fear or perceived danger. It could happen now. We could cover a dangerous distance created by the harbingers of alienation and move close to each other. We could become both the protector and the protected for each other.
Reshma, a popular singer of the subcontinent has sung: ‘dekh hamare mathe par ye dasht-e-talaab ki dhool miyan, tujhse hai mera dard ka nata, dekh hame mat bhool miyan.’ This thread that runs through women is called dard ka nata. This we must not forget…
This phot series, which is a response to the recent Hijab controversy, has tried to convey visually the idea that the thread of fear and protection runs through women in the same way irrespective of strangeness. Each photograph in the series has two references that run as a common thread throughout the series. These references are colour coded with two lights that denote fear and protection in each of the photographs. The cool white light is the feeling of fear and the warm white light is the place of protection. At times both the women become the recipients of fear and provide protection simultaneously. This is the need of the hour.
Jyotsna Dwivedi is a visual artist. She lives and works from New Delhi, India.
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