Despite the intense degree of dialogue around rape, rape threats, catcalling and sexual harassment, these problems persist and one doesn’t seem to find a way to uproot these evils in their entirety. What, in that case, can one possibly do to call out these ghastly acts?
19-year-old Nitya Mehrotra from Noida responds to that question with her bold, uncensored and confident art. “My main goal with whatever I create is to get the ‘unsaid’ feelings across without holding back. I was never able to talk as a woman about so many things, but now, I think I can just because I can make my art talk,” she says.
Her short videos very sharply convey messages of sexual abuse, harassment and rape. Not shying away from using language and imagery considered ‘explicit’ (as she shouldn’t), Nitya created a series that consists of animations titled ‘What We Hear’, ‘What We Say’ and ‘What We Think’. Here, she artistically shares the stories of sexual abuse survivors.
“I try to do justice to the story by constantly collaborating with the survivors, actively listening to them and taking weeks or months creating a single animation. The main goal is to get these animations out there, not because they are unique stories, but because they are every woman’s story,” she explains her motivation.
The toxicity of the Indian mindset, the drawbacks of its legal system and the sheer disinterest of people in topics such as consent, rape threats and surviving sexual abuse are just a few topics that inspire Nitya’s art. When even words begin to fail you, it’s such art that helps continue the conversation. When we reach a stage where such discussions are a thing of the past, we will surely look back and thank art such as Nitya’s that made a deep difference.