Draw Your Way Home

Created with Malaysian women who champion body autonomy, this collage journal invites us to listen to and recognise the language of our bodies.
Ratna, Rozella, Punnagai, Nupurasa, and Rupa

From the curator:

To feel good in your body is an act of resistance. Where and when was the last time your body truly felt comfortable? Working with women who champion intersectional bodily autonomy in the Malaysian digital space, Rupa asks these questions through the creation of a bilingual collage journal that pairs deconstructed images from magazines with text prompts for reflection. Draw Your Way Home is a space for exploration, a platform for play, an invitation to a collective effort to listen to and recognise the language of our bodies. Crucially, it reminds us that we cannot advocate for our bodies without also understanding and making space for the embodied needs and histories they carry. 

From the storyteller:

What does it mean for individuals and organisations to advocate for body positivity and self-acceptance without understanding the intuitive, unwritten language of our own bodies? What might a community, society, world where we’re listening to our bodies look like? These are questions I’m interested in posing and exploring. After all, it’s a fundamental human right to have agency over our own bodies.

The work also seeks to make visible a community that came together on a digital platform, forming in comments and DMs on Instagram, capturing that connection and comprehension on paper. Each section begins with a story about an individual, then offers prompts to the reader to create and communicate with their body. Through an Unplugged session, my collaborators and I brought that community together for a day of vulnerability and celebration.

Draw Your Way Home is a story about her stories. It reassembles images of bodies that were once filtered through patriarchal and capitalist lenses, to form playful and inquisitive new forms. It knows that besides claiming space externally, we need to look within to ask our own bodies: what do we truly need? What does it mean to be at home in our bodies? And, when many of us share the drawings made in our copies of the journal, what revelations might all these works of art offer when brought together?

How does our body speak to us? How can we recognize what our body truly needs, devoid of external pressure?
Kembara dalam mencari identiti yang serasi dengan jiwa bukanlah mudah.


To submit scans of journal pages, go to www.skinandsoul.art/submit




Rupa Subramaniam
Ratna Devi
Rozella Mahjhrin
Punnagai Krishnan

Art assistant
Swit Marie


Graphic designer and illustrator
Sunny Kumari

Rupa remembers her first argument with her mother. She wanted to play on her grandmother’s porch, shirtless.

“Cannot, because you’re a girl.”

Why are girls and women stopped from doing things because of their gender? Why is “because you’re a girl” enough to settle arguments, end conversations? Three decades later, she’s still asking the same questions, looking for more satisfactory answers. In her career as an artist and arts organiser, she has worked on creative projects that bring awareness to women’s rights to choose best for themselves. Protesting against the cultural policing of saree (the traditional attire for Indian women) and terminating the stigma against abortion are, among others, her ways of initiating Shakti (feminine energy in Hinduism). More of her Malaysian feminist artwork can be found at skinandsoul.art


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