Pooja is a PhD scholar with the Department of Sociology, South Asian University. She hails from Assam. She broadly works in the area of feminism in South Asia, material culture, visual politics, Northeast studies and Assamese modernity. She has presented and published her work in various national and international platforms.
The Mundane and a Pandemic
This photo series emanates from my experiences as a feminist auto-ethnographer. But most importantly, it takes inspiration from the immediate surroundings which centre around the domestic space occupied by two women in the city space of Guwahati– me and my mother, devoid of a male presence in our household during a pandemic.
These photographs of various objects and spaces—the unwashed utensils in the sink, the bra lying unattended, the pressures of being 'productive' in a capitalist world, feelings resonating to nothingness in the form of an empty old tape recorder, adding on items to be washed such as the masks—are all attempts at constructing a domestic narrative of the COVID-19 lockdown.
Certain categories of women, such as the widows, queer, unmarried, divorced are perpetual objects of misogynist gaze. Thus, I've deliberately concealed women’s bodies from the frame of my photographs as an act of resistance, to challenge the gaze that tries to put us in categories in order to discriminate and exploit. Further, the objects portrayed are symbolic of various emotions related to the lockdown phase; of anxiety, oppression, depression, escape, to name a few. It is to remind us of feminist solidarity within and beyond the region of 'Northeast' while simultaneously fighting capitalism, casteism, class, religion and language chauvinism during a pandemic and beyond.