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FreedomSafetyNow Protest at Indian Consulate
over 2012 Dehli Bus Rape
Collaboration Participant
On Saturday, January 26, 2013, the women of SAWCC (South Asian Women’s Creative Collective) organized a protest action in front of the New York City Indian consulate on Indian Republic Day, as a “response to the horrific violence wrought upon Jyoti Singh Pandey in India, and on women’s bodies everyday around the world.” Eighty people arrived in the below freezing temperatures, greeted by the sounds of the dhol (Punjabi drum), signs and chanting of “Freedom, Safety, Now!”
Jaishri Abichandani, SAWCC founder, and interdisciplinary artist, wanted to do an action specifically at the Indian Consulate in New York City to make the government of India see the effects of its actions (and inactions) toward rampant gender-based violence. “Freedom. Safety. NOW.” was an artistic response that went beyond mourning to showing anger and demanding governmental actions, in response to the rape and death of Pandey—a young woman gang-raped on a Delhi bus in December 2012 who subsequently died from those injuries. Abichandani said, “As a survivor, I felt it was extremely important for women to use our bodies in the public space, as a way to have a claim to that space.” Choreographer Parijat Desai brought her movement and ideas to the first rehearsal, SAWCC members Jaishri Abichandani, Fariba Salma Alam, Roohi Choudhry and Alka Dev rejected some ideas, accepted others, and all shaping the creative process, and leading to the sequence ultimately performed.  As part of a residency at the Center for Book Arts, Swati Khurana made letterpress posters with the action’s call; Freedom Safety Now
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