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Feminist Artist Soraya Nulliah Interviews Rita Banerji

April 19, 2011

Painting by Soraya Nulliah. All Rights Reserved.

Feminist artist, Soraya Nulliah, whose solo exhibition in Canada, titled ‘Shakti’ was based on the theme of the female genocide in India, did a three-part interview with The 50 Million Missing Campaign founder, Rita Banerji.  Below are questions Soraya asked Rita, along with links on Soraya’s blog, where you can read Rita’s responses.  For other media interviews with Rita regarding the campaign, click here.

For part-I of the interview which includes the following questions click here.

  • Can you share with us how you challenged the socialization process of being raised in such a culture. Have you personally experienced rejection and criticism from your family or community for speaking out against the misogyny in Indian society? If so, how have you dealt with it?
  • What advice would you give young girls who are growing up in such families and cultures to believe in themselves, to follow their hearts and dreams? To stand up for themselves in a way that won’t jeopardize their physical safety?

For part-II of the interview which includes the following question, click here.

  • Do you have any advice on how to raise strong daughters?

For part-III of the interview which include the following questions click here

  • Is there any one person or experience that encouraged you to do the work you do today?
  • Why is there such a disconnect between the reality of the way women are treated in society vs the Hindu custom of worshiping the goddess?
  • You started the 50 Million Missing Campaign. Can you tell us what inspired you to do this?
  • You worked with the Chipko women’s movement under Dr. Vandana Siva (another powerhouse of a woman!!). Did that experience shape you in any way? If so, how? Can you share with us why ecofeminsm works and how it empowers women? What was it like for you personally to work with Dr. Siva?
  • Your book Sex and Power brings to light gender based inequities in our culture. How has it been received in India? I have come up against a thick wall of denial whenever I have spoken up about gender based violence in Indian communities. Have you ever faced this reaction regarding the work you do?
  • Obviously the genocide against females in Indian culture is a systemic problem. It’s not just economics but something far more pervasive. In your opinion, why are women so devalued and dehumanised ?
  • Gender ratios in Indian populations worldwide are horribly skewed to favor males. How can this be reversed? What can be done to stop this?
  • Once one is aware of the genocide/gendercide in Indian culture…is there anything that can be done? What can the average person do to raise awareness of the situation?
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Soraya Nulliah is a Canadian artist of Indian origin.  She grew up in South Africa under the apartheid regime, and currently lives in the United States with her husband Tim and two-year-old daughter Tara.  Of what inspires her art and creative works, Soraya says: ” The story of my art is really the story of mySELF… My works are very woman-centered and speak of the many aspects of the female soul; empowerment, wisdom, courage and grace. Yet I also address the broken parts of ourselves-our fears and vulnerabilities. I believe it is when we acknowledge and share all parts of ourselves and our journey, therein lies the power.”  

In 2006, Soraya held her solo exhibition titled ‘SHAKTI’ at the Nina Haggerty Centre in Edmonton, Canada.  Soraya’s intention was to use her art to bring attention to the issue of violence against Indian women and their genocide in India and other countries.  Having lived in the west, Soraya has observed how the issues that effect women in India — dowry violence, dowry murders and forced female fetal abortions, haunt Indian women living in Canada and the U.S. too.  As one review of her exhibition points out: “Under the rich textures and colour, there is a sad theme: the reality of violence against women…” To know more about Soraya, and her art work visit her website at


3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 19, 2011 12:26 pm

    thanks for sharing that interview – Rita Banerji is a great author, and I hope for the topic which always is in her focus, that she’ll have great success …

  2. April 20, 2011 6:38 am

    Dear Rita-thank you so much for the wonderful write-up! And your interview is amazing!

  3. April 23, 2011 8:10 pm

    Great interview.

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