Feminist in Lockdown

BY KAMALA VASUKI

A feminist artist from Sri Lanka

Artist (myself) during Corona lock down

Image description: I drew myself on the left of the picture with black ink, my body framed into the brick wall of a house. I’m cooking, my right hand is holding a ladle and mixing a curry on a stove. All this is in black and white. I’m looking as I am dreaming and there are bits of colour patches on the up-right corner of the picture representing my artworks.

I am not a person who stays at home. I travel very often and thus do not fulfil the ‘traditional household responsibilities’ much. I mostly eat outside and my partner is accustomed to fetch food for himself.

During lockdown both of us were busy with our own interests: drawing, reading, writing, gardening and trying to do our activism via the internet.

After only a few days I realized that my brain was assigning most of its time to plan the food for the next few meals and my body automatically (if not naturally) takes me towards the kitchen first thing in the morning. Meanwhile my partner was going straight to his computer even before brushing his teeth.

While my brain was holding pastels and painting something, my hands were holding a ladle and stirring curry…

Proportionate Woman – Body and Home

Image description: It’s a black and white illustration. A square and circle are drawn overlapping each other. The circle is drawn as Corona virus, the square depicts a house. A woman’s body is framed within this diagram with four arms and four legs outstretched to fit into the circle. She is holding a spoon in her right hand and a broom in her left. On her stretched right leg a child is leaning and writing on a book. The house square is divided into grids. Within the grids of the square, a cup, a pot and a pan, a baby, a cell phone and her dreams are placed. A man occupies the top portion of the square between the roof and the top grid.

Vitruvian man of Leonardo Da Vinci, drawing the human body based on a proportion circle and square…

The circle and square are not defining just the proportions of her body, but also limiting her within it—the proportions of her limits, her life, sets everything in a proportion and hierarchies.

It extends to the actual lives of women, their role, responsibilities and dreams…. 

The circle replaced by Corona virus.

Who is Dangerous?

Image description: It’s a black and white cartoon. On the right half of the picture a house is depicted. A woman is trying to run away from the house with a baby in her hand. The man inside the house is threatening her with a knife saying ‘I will kill you’. A TV is between the man and the running woman. The actor on the TV show is also saying, ‘I will kill you’. One of the woman’s legs is outside the house. Next to it the Corona virus is awaiting. It asks, ‘Isn’t it my dialogue?’

Who is dangerous, the abusive husband in the house or the virus outside?

One More Chance to the Humans!

Image description: It’s a black and white illustration. A man in a suit is standing on a globe depicting the world. He is holding sticks in both his hands. One end of the strings are tied to the sticks, the other ends of the strings are tied to different continents on the globe. He stands in a posture of a puppet master.

There are two Corona viruses in the picture. The small left one is going near the face of the man with a pose like kissing. The bigger virus on the left is trying to bite the strings and shouts ‘Hit Patriarchy, Not the Patriarch!’. Small virus says,’Oh! Ok!’. At the top of the illustration is written ‘One More Chance!’. At the bottom of the illustration is written ‘Let them Learn!’.

Mobilising in Times of Viruses

Image description: It’s a black and white illustration. There are eight people in a line: five women and three men. The seven from the right to left are holding hands to form a human chain in a woman and man alternate manner. Women are wearing decorated clothes to depict their diverse identities. All the women are wearing face masks. The men are in black suits.

Woman One on the right side of the paper and Woman Two next to her are connected via holding the hands of a man standing in between them whose head is depicted as the symbol of the Zoom app. Similarly, Woman Two and Woman Three are connected through holding the hands of a man with a head made of the WhatsApp symbol, and the hands of Woman Three and Woman Four are connected through the hands of a man with a head of the Facebook app symbol. Woman Five on the extreme left is trying to hold the hands of Woman Four but there is no ‘connection’ (depicted by the reception symbol on a mobile phone).

Mobilising in Times of Viruses

Image description: It’s a black and white illustration. There are seven people in a line: four women and three men. They are standing in an alternate manner. Women are drawn in silhouette. Men are drawn as dark shadows with indefinite lines. The three men’s heads are depicted with the symbols for the Facebook, WhatsApp and Zoom apps. The app men are holding the hands of women and raising them up.

Keeping the Distance when Mobilising

Image description: The illustration is black and white. It depicts rows of women forming a chain with bigger figures in the foreground, growing smaller and receding into tiny figures leading off into the back of the page. The figures are each holding different patterned stretches of fabric with each hand that connect to the figure next to them.

‘One Billion Rising, women keep the one meter distance by holding their shawls, scarfs, sarees in between as a measure… 

We keep the distance, still mobilizing, one meter times one billion…how many kilometers will it make?…’

All images © Kamala Vasuki

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