WHILE WE WALK
What role does gender, class, culture, race and nationality play in demarcating the urban public space?
How do women access and negotiate within the public space differently in different cities?
When layered with sectarianism, patriarchy,gentri cation & religious discrimination howdemocratic is public space?
Does an outsider or members of minorities share same ownership towards the public space of a city? Is the city a site of priviledge or oppression?
My search for the answers to the above questions initiated this master project, which unfolded overtwo phases in the past year. In the rst phase,taking inspiration from the most simple and neutral action performed in a public space-walking, I started developing the ongoing photo seriesWhile We Walk. The series documents ‘walking conversations’ with women from varied race, religion, age, nationality, profession and culture ofthe cities of Indian and the Netherlands.
While we walked in different neighbourhoods of the city during different hours of day and night, the women shared their perspective of urban public space, their sense of ownership towards the city and personal stories of home and belonging.
I realized during these conversations that ‘public’in public space is not a coherent united group, butinstead a blend of different socio-economic and cultural groups, further divided by age and gender. Each part of this diverse society relates to public space in different and complex ways. Incorporating this diversity along with the layers of impressions, extraordinary moments and stories the women across these two countries generously shared with me, in the second phase I developed a performance and sound installation work.
This work attempts to illustrate the social, political & cultural fabric of cityscapes and how these factors inevitably affect a woman’s perception of her place within the society.