Nitya Mehrotra’s Art Questions Society’s Take On Sexual Abuse

Nitya Mehrotra’s Art Questions Society’s Take On Sexual Abuse
Nitya Mehrotra

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.

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‘What we say’ I had a couple of drinks and decided to go home with him. I knew that he was interested in me and so was I. We ended up at his room and by that time my buzz had come off a bit. So, I stood in his room at 2 am while he immediately began to make advances. I was a little uncomfortable at that point but i went along with it because i had already agreed to be at his place with a clear intention. After a while it got more intense and I had completely changed my mind, and was trying to hint at it, but he wasn’t understanding. I didnt know how to communicate that I wanted it to stop... so I just yelled... “STOP”. We sat on his bed looking at each other, and after a while he stood up, wore his clothes, opened the door hinting for me to leave, and said, “why did you have to ruin the mood? Please leave” - just any other girl I’ve been doing research and work with survivors of sexual violence for months now, and one such person I talked to, wanted me to tell their story in a manner that didn’t make people sad, but they could understand the idea and relate to it properly. She mentioned she could never talk about it, but wanted art to do that for her. “ ‘Asking for consent ruins the mood’ : only if you were in the mood to rape” - Farida D. (Consent: a mutual agreement to engage in sexual activity... AND IT CAN BE REVOKED AT ANY TIME!) Music: mudra by Rusha and Bliza . . . @homegrownin @india.nama #animation #womensupportingwomen #womenartists #desiart #desi #filmstudent #indianartists #womenempowerment #burkha #india #brownart #videoartist #videoart #artist #animation #filmmaker #trailer #trippy #filmart #aftereffects #premierpro #animate #videography #filmmaking #filmphotography #film #consent #consentissexy

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'What We Say' by Nitya Mehrotra

You can find Nitya’s work here.

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