Image credit: Panel from ‘But What is Basic Space?’ by Kaveri Gopalakrishnan
“Drawing the Line: Indian Women Fight Back” is a collection of visual stories by 14 young women produced during a workshop organized by the Indian feminist publisher Zubaan and the Goethe Institut and held by Indian graphic artist Priya Kuriyan and Larissa Bertonasco and Ludmilla Bartscht, German co-editors of Spring Magazine. As a response to the public outrage and debates following the 2012 Delhi gang-rape case the artists visualize narratives of resistance, desire, anxieties and anger in regard to gendered norms and expectations which range from the voyeurism of rape reportages and the wish to loiter untroubled in public parks to female foeticide and stigmatisation regarding skin colour.
Lauded for its rich and diverse artistic expressions “Drawing the Line” includes stories which call forth solace and the celebration of female solidarity as well as chuckles of approval by the ”liberating portraiture of women’s so-called quotidian wants: Going nude, not dressing to impress, bra-less at work, scratch in public anywhere, spreading their legs when sitting”.
Image credit: Panels from ‘That’s not Fair’ by Harini Kannan & ‘Basic Space’ by Kaveri Gopalakrishnan
The anthology is, as workshop organizer Bartscht concludes, “… not about turning everything on its head or about fighting back using the same awful weapons” but instead about being “brave, strong, full of love and goodwill.”
As such represents “Drawing the Line” equally the assertion of young women artists in the male dominated sphere of the comic book genre and in the ongoing discourse on gendered safety and propriety in which the artists seek “to reclaim the narrative on their bodies, minds and lives.”