LnC features Woman Scream 2018 Poetry and Arts Festival in Presidency University, Kolkata which has been celebrated in the city by Rhythm Divine Poets. The movement had first started by poet and activist Jael Uribe in Dominican Republic. The festival focuses on issues that deal with gender-based violence, equality, feminism and humanism.
The end of March saw the Kolkata edition of the 8th Woman Scream International Poetry and Arts Festival organized by Rhythm Divine Poets (RDP) at Presidency University. This was the second time that the group has organized this international event, the previous being in 2016. The Women Poets International Movement was founded in 2009 by Jael Uribe in the Dominican Republic and the International Woman Scream Festival is one of their foremost events.
Hosted worldwide via collaboration, the festival focuses on issues that deal with gender-based violence, equality, feminism and humanism and portrays this same through poems, art, music, conferences and plays in the month of March, which is celebrated as the month of the woman.
The day-long event in Presidency University comprised of poetry slam, live art, haiku jam, poetry readings, songs, music, conversation and a poetry and dance recital. Apart from Presidency University as venue partner, RDP was partnered by Women Empowered-India (WE), Intercultural Poetry and Performance Library (IPPL), Get Bengal, Woman Times, Admakers, Haiku Jam, Rotaract Club of Central Calcutta, Bonobology, Virasat Art Publication, and Chromatic Bliss Photography.
In the lead up to the main event RDP in association with WE of Mumbai featured online eighty-six contemporary Indian female poets. Smeetha Bhoumik of WE was ecstatic to see the response to such an initiative where voices of women poets were congregated and spread. The poetry slam was judged by Anindita Bose, co-founder of RDP, and the art works were judged by Santasree Chaudhuri, a social activist and founder of Bodhi Tree Art Gallery. Artists painted live on the theme of motherhood and poems honouring mothers and womanhood were recited. At the Union Room Prangan, the students delivered some really hard-hitting stanzas that embodied the current state of affairs and what the youth thought about those issues.
The evening session saw poetry reading by city poets at Dr. Rajendra Prasad Sabhagriha. Prof. Jaydeep Sarangi was in conversation with UK community poet Tony Hillier on empowerment of women. Saptaparna Roy captivated the audience with her recital of some renowned international poets. It was followed by The Borders of My Heart, a poetry and dance recital by Tania Chakravertty and Antara Ghatak.
Recently India has been embroiled with issues of safety for women and the Women Scream event encourages women to come out of the closet and voice their protest. Dr. Amit Shankar Saha, co-founder of RDP, assigned the role of the chief coordinator of the event to Ruth Pal Chaudhuri, knowing the fact that Ruth had herself recently been a victim of women-centric abuse on Valentine’s Day, and so successfully coordinating this event was instrumental to give her back the self-confidence without any patronizing sympathy. So in a sense the event was not only spreading the message of women’s empowerment but also acting to empower one.
Sufia Khatoon, co-founder of RDP, and Nikita Parik, youth coordinator of RDP, were thrilled at the overwhelming response that the Woman Scream event got both from men and women. At a time when India is screaming against atrocities committed against women (even children), RDP’s aim was to gather such screams in the forms of poetry and artworks and make them part of an international movement.
Pictures courtesy: Amit Shankar Saha
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