New Delhi: A girl in class 10 writes “it feels really sad to know you all feel that women are inferior and not capable of doing anything". Another girl writes “... but this world seems to suppress girls and dominate us, which is stupid". Letters like these are part of an exhibition that aims to introduce visitors to what concerns these young girls.
The title of the exhibition comes from American author and poet Maya Angelou's collection of poems “And Still I Rise” as it goes with its central theme: raising awareness of gender discrimination and its impact on limiting opportunities for women
What makes the exhibition different is that it also features artworks inspired by the writings of girls aged 14-18 from countries like India, China, Britain and Mexico in which they openly address the many fears, insecurities and stereotypes that societies around the world are building.
The letters grew out of a workshop conducted by a Delhi-based charity, Creative Services Support Group (CSSG), which invited around 200 schoolgirls in the city to pen down their thoughts on how girls are perceived in society and their role in it.
The replies opened a pandora box of issues confronting these young girls and provided a gateway to their minds.
“We realised that writing is a cathartic activity for these girls and a way to explain the prejudice they face in the world. This workshop was received very well and the writing exercise was followed up in a few other countries as well,” CSSG president and exhibition co-curator Anand Kapoor told IANS.
“The artwork reinforces the power of the written word and women's empowerment across languages and cultural realms,” he added.
The genesis of the exhibition lay in the intention of letting the world know what bothers girls at such a young age and how collective responsibility can shed the burden of this thought process.
Hence, these letters were shared with 16 artists from around the globe who were asked to interpret them in their own ways and transform them into artworks.
Thus, apart from 50 selected letters on view at the exhibition, works of artists from India, Germany, Spain, the US, Mexico and Britain are also on view.
For Kapoor, it was the absence of role models in the lives of these young girls that had led them to a paranoid world. To overcome this, the charity also shot a film that combines the voices of women from all walks of life and points to the strength of a united voice that focuses on gender equality in the world.
The exhibition is on till April 12 at Instituto Cervantes de Nueva, Hanuman Road.