Launched on World Menstrual Health Day on May 28th, 2017, The Crimson Wave was the first-of-its-kind travelling art show featuring curated works from artists worldwide on the subject of menstruation. Boondh, a Bangalore-based enterprise aimed to make menstrual cups affordable and available in India, took on the task of taking the two-part exhibition of The Crimson Wave and Erythrean - a series of paintings with menstrual blood - to different cities. Not only do these shows create awareness and encourage discussions on menstruation and women’s hygiene; they also use art as a means of activism to help society shift its perspective on the taboos surrounding blood and ‘that time of the month’.
For its second edition, that launches on June 5th, 2018 - World Environment Day, Boondh has put together some thought-provoking artworks across works spanning painting, performance, embroidery, digital art, installation and photography. Here are some of the most striking images from the show and the stories behind their creation.
Sweater ki Pethi Baandh Leejiye by Annada Menon
Annada N. Menon (Pune)
In the piece Sweater ki Pethi Baandh Leejiye, Annada remembers winters in school being stress free because it was easier to hide the blots of red on the uniform with a sweater. Her work reflects this instinct to cover up the stain to the announcement on a flight to fasten one's seatbelt for safety reasons.
Not All Those Who Bleed Are Always Cis-female by Debarati Sarkar
Debarati Sarkar (Kolkata)
Not All Those Who Bleed Are Always Cis-female is a piece that attempts to start a conversation about the period of females who are not cis. It tries to create awareness about the period of transpeople. Due to their non-cisfemale in/visibilities, menstruating transpeople and gender non-binary people receive flak for being menstruators — injustices that people with cisprivilege don't experience. Debarati's work is only a prelude to a much longer, invisibilised history of subjugation and taboo faced by menstruating transpeople. It gently urges its viewers to accept that not every female-identifying person visibly looks the same or experiences and identifies with the same narratives and sexualities. The discourse is diverse and intersectional.
Debarati generally uses threads as a medium to express and protest.
On Periods by Riddhi Dastidar
Riddhi Dastidar (New Delhi)
On Periods explores the intersection of gender, pain and professionalism, based on her own experience working in the dev-sector. It is an alt-text, alt-narrative, satirical piece and a symbol of the artist’s rejection of the norms surrounding menstruation in the workplace.
The woman is dressed in armour (aka a sari) meant to make her appear more professional. The text reads: In some countries, women have become so equal to men, that they've done away with their period entirely. "Ïf I can do it, you can do it" they say, smiling agreeable and competent smiles. "Just believe in yourself and work hard.”
Prasav by Akanksha Rastogi
Akanksha Rastogi (New Delhi)
Akanksha Rastogi is a graphic designer and healer, who believes that art is therapy. Her piece Prasav depicts how a woman represents the gates to dimensions of magic and divinity. Through her womb, life is born.
I Miss Him Sometimes by Indira Lakshmi Prasad
Indira Lakshmi Prasad (New Delhi)
This piece by Indira Lakshmi Prasad is part of the sub-project Erythrean, which comprises of art works done with menstrual blood. The 2018 artwork is titled I Miss Him Sometimes and combines two taboo topics: the menstrual process and sexual health. Much of Indira’s experimentation with menstrual blood led to recollection and analysis of her life in her former hometown of Coventry, England, and the society she lives in now in New Delhi.
Design Log is a weekly design document logging every relevant art and design occurrence in India.