Ritika Ganguly and Alia Jeraj
Apertures: A creative portrayal of domestic violence for SEWA-AIFW is a bricolage of stories and art forms. It draws on a variety of artistic disciplines to represent a spectrum of lived experiences of domestic violence in our societies, and the specter of patriarchy that shapes them. It tells four survivor stories from Minnesota through the lens of survivor stories in New Delhi and Chennai. The poems that represent these stories are fictionalized tellings of the poets’ own experiences of the routineness of violence in the structure of caste as practiced in India and within the institution of marriage. We juxtaposed these poems with personal survivor portraits offered to us by SEWA-AIFW – a nonprofit committed to enhancing family wellness among South Asians living in Minnesota. Read alongside each other and alongside Sewa’s work, this piece expands the vision for violence-free and self-determined lives.
The process of creating this piece was absolutely replenishing. The soundscape for the poetry has been designed to be carried by the voice, rather than by instruments. The visual elements were made to evoke emotion through textures, showing the feelings of the stories, in addition to the words. Being able to put a range of experiences and different forms of representing these experiences into dialogue with one another gives us, and this piece, an energy and connectedness that feels empowering. We hope that the revitalizing affects of the creative potential of looking at selfhood as a relational phenomenon can be experienced by all who are watching.