Art and technology can be an effective tool for social change and sensitisation. This one-of-its-kind exhibition in the Capital demonstrates the same. Priya’s Mirror, the ongoing exhibition, uses augmented reality for the cause of acid attack survivors.
The exhibition is about India’s first female superhero Priya Shakti, who is a rape survivor, and was named by UN Women as a gender equality champion. She is now helping a group of acid attack survivors to find their strength and conquer their fears – similar to how she overcame her fears after surviving a brutal rape — highlights the works at the exhibition. One needs to download a free mobile app and scan the comic book images at the exhibition, using the phone camera. And, that’s all you need to interact with the 2D images.
“Art is not just for visual aesthetical enjoyment but is an important tool to enable conversations and lead the way forward. Our epics are full of stories of women who were violated and the violators had to differ karmic lessons whether it was Indra Dev (violated Ahalya) or Ravan (collated Ramba and many other women). But these stories perhaps have no resonance in modern world. Hence we need contemporary stories in contemporary mediums to explain not just how heinous the crimes against women are but also women have the power to overcome the suffering through their own inner strength and that society has a responsibility to support these women,” says Mukta Ahluwalia, the curator of the exhibition.
Priya’s Mirror has been created by filmmaker Paromita Vohra, and documentary filmmaker Ram Devineni, actor Shubhra Prakash and one of the comic book creators Dan Goldman. “Priya is the main character of our comic book series and is India’s first female superhero who is a rape survivor. The reason why she is in this chapter, “Priya’s Mirror” is because we observed that acid attack survivors and rape survivors face the same cultural stigmas, prejudices and fears. So, this was an opportunity to make correlations between them through Priya,” says Devineni who has designed the augmented reality experience.
To come up with the series, the team has worked closely with the acid attack survivors in India, Colombia and USA and interviewed them. “Listening to the interviews was very important, because while we look at acid attack victims and think of the horror of their crime, visually evident in scars, when we listen we hear the person they are: mischievous, sweet, hopeful, intelligent. We learn to see them again as the people they are, not only the way we are schooled to see their appearance. This was a very crucial holistic way of looking at the women as multi-faceted people,” says filmmaker Paromita Vohra.