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The Elephant in the Room: Women Draw Their World

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This book brings together sixteen comic artists, all women, from India and Germany to explore how women see the world and themselves, and how that is similar and different across cultures. In the striking, surprising, often funny drawings featured here, the women take apart received ideas of identity, power, love, sex, family, and bodies, putting them to new purposes to yi This book brings together sixteen comic artists, all women, from India and Germany to explore how women see the world and themselves, and how that is similar and different across cultures. In the striking, surprising, often funny drawings featured here, the women take apart received ideas of identity, power, love, sex, family, and bodies, putting them to new purposes to yield a rich interweaving of the personal and the political. Bold, original, outspoken, and thought-provoking, The Elephant in the Room is the perfect tonic for our dark times: affirming and entertaining but never less than powerfully political.  


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This book brings together sixteen comic artists, all women, from India and Germany to explore how women see the world and themselves, and how that is similar and different across cultures. In the striking, surprising, often funny drawings featured here, the women take apart received ideas of identity, power, love, sex, family, and bodies, putting them to new purposes to yi This book brings together sixteen comic artists, all women, from India and Germany to explore how women see the world and themselves, and how that is similar and different across cultures. In the striking, surprising, often funny drawings featured here, the women take apart received ideas of identity, power, love, sex, family, and bodies, putting them to new purposes to yield a rich interweaving of the personal and the political. Bold, original, outspoken, and thought-provoking, The Elephant in the Room is the perfect tonic for our dark times: affirming and entertaining but never less than powerfully political.  

30 review for The Elephant in the Room: Women Draw Their World

  1. 5 out of 5

    Chythan

    A collaborative project of Indian and German women artists , which was released post Nirbhaya rape incident. The book looks upon the normative societal expectations of women which may look regressive , but still exists even today. The art is pretty cool and the themes born out of artists' own life experiences makes it interesting. But, the kind of upper middle class and socially privileged (atleast in some ways ) gender experiences , which reverberate the concerns of first wave feminism become p A collaborative project of Indian and German women artists , which was released post Nirbhaya rape incident. The book looks upon the normative societal expectations of women which may look regressive , but still exists even today. The art is pretty cool and the themes born out of artists' own life experiences makes it interesting. But, the kind of upper middle class and socially privileged (atleast in some ways ) gender experiences , which reverberate the concerns of first wave feminism become problematic in a country like India where caste and class still decide decide on the conditions of women. Ofcourse, the gendered norms which these artists try to subvert cannot be repudiated as they are still relevant and the fact that these are their lived in experiences make it absolutely legitimate concerns which they represent in art. But, I find the work as a whole dangerously slipping into representation of a monolithic category of women which got me tired after a point. Nevertheless, it is always a pleasure to find more and more works in the genre of graphic books in Indian literary scene.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Juliana

    This is a cool collaboration. Sixteen women artists from Germany and India explore what it means to be a woman.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Anjana Balakrishnan

    When women draw their world, it is bound to be spectacular. I was surprised by how relatable this book is. But then I realised it's because it's not everyday that I see/read a book that depicts the world from the point of view of a woman. In here, there are stories, opinions, fears, successes, perspectives-it's a fun book for both men and women to read. When women draw their world, it is bound to be spectacular. I was surprised by how relatable this book is. But then I realised it's because it's not everyday that I see/read a book that depicts the world from the point of view of a woman. In here, there are stories, opinions, fears, successes, perspectives-it's a fun book for both men and women to read.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Abhaga

    Another one of the collection of short graphic stories from Zubaan, coming out of a collaboration between German and Indian artists. There was Drawing the Line before this and also Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean that was published under Young Zubaan. While there are many nice stories in the collection, the highlight of the collection for me was Looking Up by Reshu Singh. Her illustration style sat so well with the story! My heart melted on the last page. This followed by 3 one page pieces by Barbar Another one of the collection of short graphic stories from Zubaan, coming out of a collaboration between German and Indian artists. There was Drawing the Line before this and also Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean that was published under Young Zubaan. While there are many nice stories in the collection, the highlight of the collection for me was Looking Up by Reshu Singh. Her illustration style sat so well with the story! My heart melted on the last page. This followed by 3 one page pieces by Barbara Yelin, especially the second story called Windows. I will remember to look twice! Archana Sreenivasan's meditation about the decision to have or not have children was also heart touching, exploring a deeply personal choice with openness and light touch. I also noticed some differences between the visual styles of German and Indian artists. I lack the vocabulary to classify and critique visual styles, but many of the German styles were more minimalist (spartan?) as opposed to Indian ones that are rich in details. German ones more experimental and India ones more illustrative? Of course, this is not true across the board with Prabha Mallya's Bitch using bold minimal style while Barbara Yelin has a rich graphic novel like style. But it seemed like a trend overall.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Katie Voss

    This beautiful, provoking collection of comics and art totally blew my mind. What a wonderful way to explore two vastly different cultures (Germany and India) from the perspective of young women. The final story about the grandmother was definitely my favorite.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Romany

    Every one of these visual short stories felt relevant to me despite the differences between all the authors, and their experiences, and my own.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Becka Woodard

    A fantastic collection from many different female illustrators. Funny, sad, and entirely compelling.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ushnav Shroff

    'The Elephant In The Room' was an entertaining 2-hour read, but I don't wish to review this. For Taruni Kumar from Firstpost seems to have articulated my thoughts better than anyone else, when she writes: 'The foreword, written by author and artist Manjula Padmanabhan, blames various ‘elephants’ in the proverbial room for various fears and insecurities that women continue to hold. “Why are so many of us crushed by social pressure until we ourselves no longer believe in ourselves?” The answer, sh 'The Elephant In The Room' was an entertaining 2-hour read, but I don't wish to review this. For Taruni Kumar from Firstpost seems to have articulated my thoughts better than anyone else, when she writes: 'The foreword, written by author and artist Manjula Padmanabhan, blames various ‘elephants’ in the proverbial room for various fears and insecurities that women continue to hold. “Why are so many of us crushed by social pressure until we ourselves no longer believe in ourselves?” The answer, she writes, is elephants. If the collection seems random to anyone, they have only to read Padmanabhan’s foreword which ties in all the various stories told by the artists in the book by explaining that the aim is to “capture the experience of being women.”' That said, I would like to add that Priya Kuriyan's work in this anthology only brings out her growing expertise in her work. One can see that she is doing something she loves. 'Whose Bra Is It Anyway' only comes close to represent how her artwork flourishes, but it is in the last story of the anthology, 'Ebony and Ivory' that she soars. Her artwork is definitely one of the major highlights of the anthology.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Divya

    The last story, by Priya Kuriyan is a masterpiece!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Aarti Kashyap

  11. 5 out of 5

    Vijetha

  12. 4 out of 5

    Christen

  13. 5 out of 5

    Shriraam Ravindran

  14. 5 out of 5

    Paul

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kelsey

  16. 5 out of 5

    Eunice

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kruttika

  18. 5 out of 5

    Shirin Mehrotra

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kaveri

  20. 4 out of 5

    Rasika

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tam

  22. 4 out of 5

    Anubha

  23. 4 out of 5

    Aparna Singh

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kavitha

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Zia

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kaviya Ilango

  27. 5 out of 5

    anjana

    five stars just for ‘ebony and ivory’

  28. 4 out of 5

    Riya Bagchi

  29. 4 out of 5

    Pooja

  30. 4 out of 5

    Divya

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