[Beyond the Zenana Walls: Zenana, Dewaron se Agay] 

Previously titled TOGETHERNESS, a continuation of a body of work recontextualizing the zenana to extend beyond palace walls and through a female gaze.

Zenanas, during Mughal rule, were women’s quarters where men were not allowed in. It was a community that housed thousands of women and was run by women, each with their own role. An asylum, a sanctuary, a multicultural and inclusive commune, the zenana became an unspoken safe space amidst patriarchy. Beyond the Zenana Walls explores what these sanctuaries are outside of palace walls and what they represent in today’s world where patriarchy is still challenged and women and femme liberation is ongoing. Zenanas are creating havens between one another and finding safety in each other’s presence as women and femme. It is building each other up and bringing each other along through our successes.

Sultana’s Dream was an essay by Bengali writer, Begum Rokeya. This essay was about a utopia where women ruled society. It’s what originally inspired me to create this body of images.

Photographer: Simrah Farrukh

Assist: Kiana Kazemi

Models: Camille Edwards, Shivaani Sharma, Farrah Naqvi, Nisha Jalmi, Manu Kaur, Sona + Jasmine

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