Photography Cinema

Bunu Dhungana: Confrontations

Image Maker
Bunu Dhungana
Bunu DHUNGANA sees photography as a medium to explore and question the world around her. She discovered photography after leaving the world of academia and research. Her background in sociology informs her 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, commercial to NGO/INGO and journalistic work. She works closely with and Nepal Picture Library in Kathmandu. Currently, she is a Visiting Artist Fellow at Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute, Harvard University.
Place of Origin


A Nepali woman’s experience of life is shaped by patriarchy. The need to control a woman is ingrained in the Nepali psyche. Non-conformity 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 of such boundaries. Given this 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, and by making the unsaid visible. I use the colour red to question what it means to be a woman in my society. Red is very symbolic in a Nepali woman’s life: indicating marital status, auspiciousness, sexuality, fertility, and life. Another culturally potent colour for woman is white: employed to signify a woman’s purity, vulnerability, and fragility as the unspoiled bearer of patriarchal honour.

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