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Radhaben Garva

The painter has just published her book Picture This! Painting the Women’s Movement.

Radhaben Garva
Radhaben Garva

Tell us about your book.

I began painting in my village in Mundra, Kutch, 25 years ago. I took the opportunity to compile my painted ideas into a book.

Your main subject has been experiences of rural Gujarati women....

The paintings here are a compilation of the struggles faced by women like me from Gujarat.

Your paintings also speak of women’s social movements in the last 25 years.

It does, in two parts. The first is set when society was patriarchal and women had few rights; the second talks about how women slowly won more rights and started demanding equality.

How did you begin painting?

I didn’t have a formal education; I could only draw crooked lines at first. But I developed skills and could express this pain through drawings.

What message are you trying to convey?

Men and women play equally important roles in society, which can function smoothly only when men start respecting women and children.

Tell us one interesting experience in the making of the book.

The first time I sat in a plane! I was really scared...I thought I was surely going to die.

Do you see a difference between problems faced by rural and urban women?

In the last 25 years, with urbanisation, this gap seems to have been reduced. But the problem of subjugation is still prevalent.

What social cause is closest to your heart?

Uplifting the lives of women in villages.

What change do you hope the book will bring?

I want both men and women to wake up to the cause of women’s empowerment. Men must understand the problems women face in today’s world and start respecting them.

What is the society you hope for in the future?

I don’t want the coming generation to live in the same patriarchal society that I grew up in.

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