Poster power: A visual testament to the women’s movement in India

From Himal SouthAsian:


Our Pictures, Our Words is a lucid, engaging primer to a topic that can at first seem intimidatingly broad – the women’s rights movement in India. The book is a ‘visual map’ through the various campaigns that have shaped the contemporary movement since its inception in the 1970s, compiling a broad and careful selection of campaign posters (and occasional photographs) from across India, selected from the larger archive of the Poster Women project from the feminist publishing house Zubaan. The book’s structure and accompanying texts add greatly to its educational value. The posters are thematically organised, dealing with a host of relevant issues ranging from sexual harassment and health to religion, women’s political participation, and the overlap of the women’s movement with environmental, labour, and other social struggles.

…Still, the book’s greatest strength are the posters themselves. Striking, innovative, spanning a range of styles from modern to traditional, this is a superb collection even on artistic merit alone, and an important record of Indian poster art. As Murthy and Dasgupta point out, the posters also circumvent the ‘institutionalisation’ of the voices of the Indian women’s movement in recent times. The posters are presented as primary sources for the reader’s own consideration, in the form that they were produced by artists and women’s collectives responding directly to the issues and events most important to them in the places they live.

More here.