De. B. Dubois

Body and Freedom 2018 Performances

Photo ©, Body and Freedom Festival 2018

De.B. Dubois (*1985, Kalkutta) ist eine Schriftstellerin, Dichterin, Designtheoretikerin,
Tänzerin, Schauspielerin und bildende Künstlerin. Mit ihren Wurzeln fest in Bengal,
ist Deb heute Schweizerin, wohnhaft und arbeitend in der Schweiz, wo sie bildende
Künste praktiziert, Design Studierende beim Überbrücken von Theorie und Praxis
begleitet und weiterhin als interdisziplinäre Design- und Kommunikationsexpertin
arbeitet. Obwohl sie im zarten Alter von fünf Jahren ihre Nachhilfestunden im Bereich
Bildende Kunst begann, arbeitet und studiert sie seit 2005 Kunst und Design in
Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Mumbai, Sydney, Paris und Basel. Ein Exponent des modernen
Bengal, Deb hat einen ziemlich großen Kanon entwickelt, der aus Gemälden,
Skizzen und Kritzeleien, vielen Gedichten, Schriften und einigen Tausenden von
Fotografien besteht. Als braune Frau, die in Indien und der Schweiz gleichermaßen
lebt, liegt ihr Hauptaugenmerk auf Geschlecht, Rasse und Repräsentation.

De.B. Dubois (*1985 Calcutta) is a writer, poet, design theoretician, dancer, actor and
visual artist. With her roots firmly in Bengal, Deb is now a Swiss national, living and
working in Switzerland where she practices visual arts, mentors students of design to
bridge theory and practice, and continues working as an inter-disciplinary design and
communications expert. Although her home tutoring in the field of fine arts started at
the tender age of five, officially she has been working and studying art and design in
Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Mumbai, Sydney, Paris and Basel – since 2005. An exponent of
modern Bengal, Deb has advanced quite a vast canon that comprises of paintings,
sketches and doodles, many poems, writings and some thousands of photographs.
As a brown-woman living equally in India and Switzerland, her main focus is on
gender, race and representation.

आईना – Mirror – আয়না

My art manifestation, as a Hindu Brahmin woman, is with the aim to hold up a mirror of
reality in the face of the millions who refuse to acknowledge the fact that, ever since 2014,
India has taken a quantum leap towards degradation. This is not limited to economics, but
has much to do with the socio-cultural as well as the politico-economic degradation initiated
by a people elected far-right government with no better agenda than to enforce traditional
norms that are not only archaic and dangerous for the society and culture of India, but is also
dangerous for women in India.

I want to stand, vulnerable and nude, in a public space for 30 minutes, with the
words – “why do I feel safe and comfortable while standing naked in Switzerland – but
fear death, rape, physical and verbal assault if I do the same in India?” written in black
paint all over my body.
In these 30 minutes, although I am limited to my pedestal of performance, I embody all
50million and more women who went missing in India. In these 30 minutes I embody the entire
societal stigma that starts with female foetus, and continues to haunt mothers of daughters,
women with strong-voice, independent women, women with short or long hair, women with
fair or dark complexion, tall or short women, fat or thin women, female body in general –
including its biological function of menstruation, and the list goes on! In my nudity, I stand as a
mirror to every virgin-whore dichotomy that society inflicts on us. And humbly and guiltily I
stand, for the innumerable number of women born in lower socio-economic strata in India
whose voices are being muted by men and women from the same socio-economic-religious
class as mine. I stand to point out that the privileged need to recognise their privilege and
stop nullifying cries of millions; – just because they don’t face these issues themselves, or are
too blinded within the comfort of their privileged bubble – does not mean that those issues are
invalid and/or will automatically go away. In those 30 minutes, I may seem vulnerable due to
my nude body, but inside I embody Kali – the goddess, – symbolic of darkness, of time, of
ultimate reality, and liberation.

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Photos 1-9 /14 ©, 10/11 © Beatrice Schumacher, 12/13 © Lorenzo Borghi