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Louder than words

  • Published at 06:24 am November 13th, 2020

Art rebellions and revolts have formed social landscapes throughout documented history, propelling society forward, sending it scuttling back, and shaping the ideological world as we know it. They have displaced regimes that seemed to be indestructible, removed rulers and overturned empires and religions, always great, often at terrible human cost.

It may appear that chaos of rebellions is about as far as art takes it, yet there is an affiliation between art and revolt as old as the ideas themselves.

Suravita Basak, a student of Economics at University of Dhaka, is one such artist who uses her paintbrush to revolt against societal injustice. She has had a knack for painting since her childhood. Her parents got her admitted to Bangladesh Shishu Academy and BAFA, but, for some reasons she could not complete her courses there. Since then, has been learning painting from a Charukola DU alumnus, who shaped Suravita's painting skills. She uses both traditional and digital methods to visually convey powerful messages to the masses. 

This painting represents one of the reasons why rape victims do not get justice. The patriarchy is one of the main reasons behind misogyny. And misogyny leads to victim blaming, and unreported rapes. As a result, the rapists get to walk free.

Every woman in our country has faced injustice and harassment in her life in one way or another. Mine happened when I was 8 years old. And since then I started realising how biased people are while talking about issues like molestation and rape. There are always buts; but you should have worn the scarf properly, but you should have stayed careful in the crowd, but you should not have laughed too much while talking to him and so on. I have chosen art to express my thoughts and feelings. Painting is all I am good at. So it just hit me that if I want to make a change, painting will be my weapon.

These are some very common hate comments towards victims. It’s like some people are willingly avoiding talking about the main reasons behind rape. Justifying accounts of rape and harassment will only increase sexual violence and crimes while endangering womens’ and girls’ lives.

Art is an ultimate tool box. It depends on us, which tool we want to use to intrigue emotions and thoughts. Every colour has its own significance. Colour is a language people learn from their society, history, and culture. And people can connect easily if colour is used while sending them messages. Art played a vital role in our liberation war. And today, I hope art will help us to put an end to this rape culture. 

I used a reference from a news report for this painting. The news featured three girls protesting against rape. But the comment section of this post was filled with people (both men and women) shaming these girls for their clothes, and for not wearing scarves properly. It's a clear representation of how society instinctively objectifies women, even when they have much bigger issues to address. 

Most of the comment sections of articles about harassment make me sad and angry. Sometimes people drag religion to justify the actions of the molesters and rapists. Sometimes, people sympathize with the victims, but their own timelines are filled with misogynistic posts. It saddens and enrages me, so I try to depict these issues in my art. 

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