Let’s talk. Period.

An art work by Kira Issar

An art work by Kira Issar

Sonal Jain advocates what’s called a ‘cradle-to-cradle’ concept. Just another term for responsible production and consumption with zero wastage. Last year, she joined Boondh — an organisation founded by Bharti Kannan — that promotes the awareness of using menstrual cups that is a more sustainable alternative to sanitary napkins which take over 800 years to disintegrate. In August 2016, the duo kickstarted The Jharkhand project in collaboration with Udyogini to take cups to tribal women. And while they have been whipping up the talk around menstrual hygiene through social media, blogs and workshops, they decided to up the game by organising an exclusive art show on menstruation and all things associated with it: period humour, period politics, PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome), puberty, menopause, body positivity and depression.


The show was launched in Chennai on Menstrual Hygiene Day (May 28), and will be travelling to Bengaluru, Mumbai and Delhi. The Chennai edition, at Backyard, Adyar, includes paintings, digital art and photography, with a few done using actual menstrual blood. For example, Bengaluru-based Sridevi Sadasivan’s work The Last Red captures the peaceful acceptance of menopause, and Chile-based artist Consuelo Da Costa’s work ‘Sinister Illumination’ shows the form of a human face painted using sharp strokes of blood. “For the next show in Bengaluru, we will also be displaying an art installation — a bunch of stained panties stitched together and hung from the ceiling.”


The idea is to remove from peoples’ mindset that menstrual blood is impure. When Jain and Kannan were curating the show, they were surprised to note that many progressive women still had the hesitation while discussing use of menstrual blood creatively. “I just know one person in India — Lyla Freechild from Jaipur — who has been doing menstrual art for the last 18 months.” So the team had to expand their horizon, and call for artists from across the world. And they found creative minds such as Jen Lewis from Michigan who has taken macroscopic images of blood and Ramanjot Chana from Germany who has done a whole series on ‘body prints’ which are simply patterns of blood formed on canvas when she sat on them.

Strategically placed on the walls of a cafe that is mostly abuzz with a young crowd, Boondh’s aim is to break the taboo around the subject. This is not their first attempt. Earlier, at a college festival they had placed the cup as a specimen inside a glass jar for the public to see; many thought it was a Christmas decoration, a fancy shot glass or a small silicon hat! The lack of awareness wasn’t surprising. Though menstrual cups have been in the market for a while, there haven’t been many takers simply because of a conventional rigid mindset, says Jain. But most also do not know that “tampons and pads use bleached cotton, which is not advisable to be used in the intimate parts of one’s body. Tampons absorb blood, and make vagina dry, leading to Toxic Shock Syndrome.” The cups made by Boondh, she stresses, are made of medical-grade silicon and do not lead to any rashes. But step one, as is seen at the Backyard cafe, is to be comfortable discussing periods while munching on a pancake with friends.

The show is on till June 6, at Backyard, Adyar.

Our code of editorial values

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Aug 13, 2022 8:23:32 am |