Thursday the 10th – The Quad Walk Gallery – University of Gloucestershire
Recently, I attended and read at a poetry ready done by my fellow course mates and teachers. It was themed around the December 2012 gang rape which took place on a bus in Delhi, India. I’ll be brutally honest, she suffered. A wheel jack hammer was inserted into her, removing a large amount of her intestines and she died in a Singapore hospital a few days later. Reportedly, she wanted to live. She had been an intern in a hospital.
That incident labelled Delhi as the rape capital, and women from Delhi contributed to ‘Drawing the Line’ in a week long workshop to tell visual stories and fight back against the injustice. Students at the university made a cool book, yet oddly shaped, ‘Re-drawing the line’ and I’ll add some snaps. It’s artwork created when they were asked to think of what it would be like to be another gender -including trans/bigender etc.
Due to assignment rules, I cannot post the poem up here until after the work has been marked. However, I read second, two poems: Rape Culture and A (Recent) History of Women. Themed around violence against women – more specifically the Brock Turner case, in form of a police interrogation, and several horrific middle Eastern/Asian rapes dating back to 2006.
The atmosphere was good. I was very nervous. Despite being in my third year I have never done a public reading before. Not a great public speaker, love to stare at my paper and avoid the audience at all costs. I thought I would be grateful for the orchestral (they said! Liars.) band playing in the background, but topped with a microphone that spat out your P’s and K’s, my arse could not have been sweating more. In spite of all that, a lovely older woman came over to me and told me one of my poems had her in tears.
I shall ask one question: can you play the ping pong balls? Is that really an instrument? Swiveling them around in a bowl until, one by one, they spew over the floor, bouncing across the stone in the tiny room in the gallery hallway, the coldest place they could have found on campus, rolling to rest at our feet. I think not.
Not only ping pong balls, I have you know. Plastic tubing swung above his head. Atmospheric but not in a good way. They had earlier admitted, even claimed with pride they were an improvised band. Not one rehearsal. They were supposed to be ‘quiet background music’ but blared above the poetry of two of the readers. Poor saps.
Guy on the oboe looked like he was jamming.
Still, the free wine made up for that ordeal. Plus my free copy of ‘Re-draw the line’ which is amazing. The students have really upped the game with this one. Challenging gender norms and stereotypes alongside biasness within socialisation, it’s a great visual story.
I’m doubtful on whether I shall read out again. It was a sickening experience and when my audience consists of twenty people and a cameraman, I can’t imagine being in front of more.
Purchase Drawing the Line here – http://zubaanbooks.com/shop/drawing-the-line-indian-women-fight-back/
See more student illustration work here – http://www.pittvillepress.co.uk/ba_ill.htm