Trauma of stalked victims bared
A stalking victim goes through trauma and self guilt, feels Aishwarya Arumbakkam who in a nude monochromatic photographic exhibition here has captured real-life victims of this prevalent phenomena to highlight their scars and struggle.
Fifteen black-and-white photographs are mounted on the walls at Atta Galatta cafe in an exhibition titled "Stalked: Scars in time and space" till March 23.
"Stalking is a prevalent phenomena, but is widely misrepresented and misunderstood. Mostly, it is spoken about in a sensational way, but in reality it is alarming for both men and women," Arumbakkam told IANS.
"People usually don't understand what trauma a person undergoes, and how it feels like to be on the other side. My exhibition is an artistic expression of the trauma a victim undergoes," she added.
It was not easy for Arumbakkam to convince these victims to pose for her, that too nude. But of 16 people she interacted with, nine agreed to shed their inhibitions and pose their vulnerable inner self in front of the camera.
"It was about building a relationship with them and reaching to a comfort level," Arumbakkam said.
Though, Arumbakkam loves to work in the medium of monochrome, the main reason to have her muses nude was to show their vulnerability.
"There is always some amount of guilt that resides in the body of such victims. They start having problems with their bodies. This results in an inner struggle where they refuse to accept their bodies," she pointed out.
"I made them pose nude because it would allow them to accept their bodies. They should feel their bodies can be depicted beautifully and can't be mere images of sexual gratification," Arumbakkam added.
Of the 15 photographs on display, the majority of them are of women but a few men also make it to the final list. This proves men too are the silent victims of obsessive attention.
"In Bollywood stalking is usually shown as an act of wooing a partner. We hardly get a sense of what real stalking is like. There is more to this harassment that leads to unwanted and obsessive attention," Arumbakkam said.
"I am not here to preach people but hope through this exhibition, people will think twice before making judgments," she added.
(Posted on 21-03-2014)