Bunu Dhungana: Confrontations
A Nepali woman’s experience of life is shaped by patriarchy. The need to control a woman is ingrained in the Nepali psyche. Non-conformity comes at a cost: any defiance of norms raises questions, suspicion, concern, ridicule — some visible, others silent and invisible. I am regularly made aware that I keep crossing many of such boundaries. Given this psychological push and pull, I struggle to be the woman I want to be: fearless and standing by my choices.
Confrontations attempts to explore my sense of self in relation to society by saying things I’m not supposed to say, and by making the unsaid visible. I use the colour red to question what it means to be a woman in my society. Red is very symbolic in a Nepali woman’s life: indicating marital status, auspiciousness, sexuality, fertility, and life. Another culturally potent colour for woman is white: employed to signify a woman’s purity, vulnerability, and fragility as the unspoiled bearer of patriarchal honour.