Poulomi basu

Poulomi Basu ex­plains how she’s us­ing her cam­era to ex­pose a vi­cious cy­cle of abuse tak­ing place in tra­di­tional ar­eas of Nepal

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The In­dian pho­tog­ra­pher ex­pos­ing abuse in tra­di­tional ar­eas of Nepal

“Red is the colour of pu­rity and also the colour of sin.” Poulomi Basu grew up in Cal­cutta, in eastern In­dia, in a tra­di­tion­ally pa­tri­ar­chal home, and much of her work springs from an anger and frus­tra­tion with the roles of women that she ob­served as a child, and con­tin­ues to study in her cur­rent work. “‘A Rit­ual of Ex­ile’ is about blood, and the vi­cious cy­cle of abuse which blood cre­ates,” she ex­plains. “I see colour as a form of con­trol, of abuse, for women.” Colour has a par­tic­u­lar cul­tural im­por­tance in In­dian cul­ture, where the wear­ing of bright colours sig­ni­fies hap­pi­ness and cel­e­bra­tion, while a widow can only wear white, the colour of death and mourn­ing. “Both my mother and grand­mother were child brides and be­came very young wid­ows. My grand­mother never wore any colour; I al­ways saw her wear­ing white un­til the day she died. “I was very close to her, and I was sad­dened to see all of us get­ting dressed up and go­ing out­side and she would ei­ther not come to events, or if she did, it would be in white. It re­ally both­ered me. And then the same thing hap­pened to my mother.” At the age of 17, when her fa­ther died, Basu made her bid for free­dom, leav­ing the fam­ily home with­out her brother’s con­sent.

[Pre­vi­ous pages] Mangu Bika, 14. [Be­low] An­jali Ku­mari Khang is 12 and lives in a district where child mar­riage is ram­pant. [Right] Rit­ual to wash away sins com­mit­ted dur­ing men­stru­a­tion in Kathmandu, Nepal.

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