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