A Nepali woman’s experience of life is shaped by patriarchy. The need to control a woman is ingrained in the Nepali psyche. Nonconformity comes at a cost: any defiance of norms raises questions, suspicion, concern, ridicule — some visible, others silent and invisible. I am regularly made aware that I keep crossing many such boundaries. Given the psychological push and pull, I struggle to be the woman I want to be: fearless and standing by my choices. ‘Confrontations’ attempts to explore my sense of self in relation to society by saying things I’m not supposed to say, by making visible what is meant to stay out of sight. Red is used to question what it means to be a woman in my society. The color red is significant in a Nepali woman’s life: it indicates marital status, symbolises auspiciousness, sexuality, fertility, and life. Another colour significant for women is white, employed to signify a woman’s purity, vulnerability, and fragility as the unspoiled bearer of patriarchal honour.

Bunu Dhungana uses photography as a medium to explore and question the world around her. She discovered photography after leaving the world of academia and research. However, her background in sociology informs her photographic work. A graduate of Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, she is interested in questioning notions of gender and patriarchy. While her personal projects centre on gender, she has worked in a wide range of forms — from visual ethnography, NGO/INGO work to commercial and journalistic work. Her work has been exhibited in Photo Kathmandu, Dali International Photo Festival, Kunstkasten, Serendipity Arts Festival, and Mannheimer Kunstverein, among others. She is associated with Photocircle and Nepal Picture Library in Kathmandu, Nepal. Currently she is doing her fellowship at Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute, Harvard University.