The Delhi wall was a collaboration between SafeCity, Naaz Foundation and the Fearless Collective.
The workshop was conducted with a group of 25 girls between 16 and 30 in a lower income area in Okhla where women were being rehabitalated and taught vocational skills in the foundation's office.
One thing that always strikes me everytime in Delhi is the un-penetrable gaze of men as I walk around. Safe city does geotagging of places where women report being stared at and harrased, and so with the Delhi project, we want to fill those spaces with eyes.
The affirmation here became "Buri Nazar Waale, Dil se Dekho, Aankho se Nahi", Look at me with your heart, not your eyes.
The workshop was a three hour long discussion and painting session with the girls. With the younger girls, the icebreaker questions were about the pros and cons of being a girl in Okhla, while with the older women were asked about their most fearless actions in their lives. The discussions and answers were enthusiastic and intense as were some of the narratives. They told stories of finding the bodies of five year old girls in the fields, the lack of public sanitation in the neighbourhood, being starved for a week by their parents for falling in love and feeling like a 'burden' on one's husband's family. There was one woman in particular, in her thirties who had been coming to the school secretly to learn how to read and write for years, hiding from her husband and her family.
The second part of the workshop was a visual game. We started to draw portraits of ourselves with eyes all around us, and had a discussion about being 'Seen' vs. being 'Looked at' as an exploration also of self love and seeing one's own qualities. What is it about yourself that you would like to be 'seen' as opposed to being stared at?
Following the workshop, we went onto the streets in Okhla to begin painting the wall, with the affirmation "Dil se Dekho, Aankho se Nahi'- look at me with your heart, not your eyes. Like with all other walls, the affirmation was aimed to be assertive and yet positively framed.