a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
As a Kashmiri woman, I believe that the occupation that has collapsed on our chests, the army boots suffocating our necks and the psychological trauma of being occupied every day and in every sense has a tangible ‘physical’ presence in Kashmir. The ‘militarization’ or ‘militarism’ (whatever the so-called academic jargon is) has made us physically ill and absolutely mad for freedom, love and above all, dignity.
This illness and madness is the subject of my art. ‘Kashmir’s corporeality’ is an attempt to highlight that being political or resisting against the occupying forces as a Kashmiri is laughed upon by the masses. They call you emotional, overreacting and an unnecessarily angry mad woman.
All of this mental and physical abuse in and outside Kashmir strips a Kashmiri woman of her dignity as we are brutally objectified, sexualized and conveniently thrown over geographies for people to prove their patriotism and justify oppression. As an artist, this abuse has developed into a long incurable physical illness and allowed me to transform my art into being ‘unapologetically unconventional.’ My art is a tribute to the Kashmiri women and their resistance. It’s an attempt to find a place of peace for Kashmir.
Sabahat Ali Wani is a writer, researcher and artist from Indian Occupied Kashmir. She is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of the Kashmiri women-led initiative and magazine, Maaje Zevwe, aiming to showcase the survival voyage of their community by authentically defining the various dynamics of being a ‘Kashmiri’ across the narratives of resistance through language, culture, art and music.