Nirbhaya as a Superheroine

The Resurrection: Superheroine Nirbhaya

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Nirbhaya’s story is equal parts abject, and inspirational. Therefore, a fitting memorialization for Nirbhaya would have to be an anti-memorial, so that she may never be forgotten. In my anti-memorial for Nirbhaya, I reimagine her as a superheroine, whose superpower is that she can eradicate rape and sexual violence in any form, anywhere.

​This anti-memorial consists of a series of charcoal drawings of Superheroine Nirbhaya in her costume wearing her own Anonymous mask as a symbol of female empowerment with bindi, kohl, nose stud, and lip color. The model for the drawings is the artist herself, thus making the drawings a form of self-portraiture and inserting herself into the Nirbhaya character.

The drawings are made in the format of enlarged comic book panels. Each drawing is accompanied by a speech or thought bubble, and a text box. The text box on the panel provides the meaning of Nirbhaya - "In Sanskrit, Nirbhaya means the fearless woman." In one drawing, her speech bubble says, “I am Nirbhaya, and I am back.” In another drawing, her speech bubble says, “I am becoming fearless,” and she is answered by many budding Nirbhayas, “Me Too.”

​The drawings of the superheroine figure are also printed on larger-than-life-size sheer fabric panels, with no accompanying text or background. When hung from the ceiling of a space, the panels create a ghostly installation in which the fabric moves ever so slightly with a draft of wind or with people walking past. Distinct from the smaller scale drawings, the large-scale fabric prints create an experiential installation for the viewers.

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Nirbhaya Anti-Memorial Project

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What to learn more about Nirbhaya project?

 

One young woman faced an unspeakable crime. In its aftermath, a legion of survivors and their allies gathered to fight against the everyday violence. What began in one country became a story that spread around the globe.

Through the art of the anti-memorial, a new vision of the victim can form into a hero — one reborn from extreme trauma into a symbol of hope.