A graphic novel and an art installation redirect the conversation from the girl child to girls' collectives
In 1929, British author Virginia Woolf published an essay titled A Room Of One’s Own in which she argued that women must have spaces of their own if they were to become writers of fiction. Nearly 90 years later, a group of four girls from villages in Uttar Pradesh’s Karwi district arrived at a similar conclusion based on their own experiences: “Jab ghar bane, hum ladkiyon ke liye ek alag room honi chahiye, jo bhi karne ke liye—facebook ke liye, Internet ke liye—jo bhi (when houses are made, there should be a separate room for girls to do whatever they wish, whether to surf the Internet or go on Facebook)." Earlier this year, a group of four girls—aged 15-18 years, from low-income families, some Dalit, some Muslim—spoke of desire, shame and freedom, or rather, the lack of it, while viewing a series of images compiled by Delhi-based artist Baaraan Ijlal. The images were chosen for the way girlhood has been represented in popular imagination, and their conversation was recorded. Ijlal repeated this exercise with three other groups of girls, varying from two-six in number, in Bhopal, Lucknow and New Delhi.
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