Shelly Bahl. Remove the Stain From Her Skirt. Ink on paper (3 panels, 20” x 60” each), 2018


Commissioned by Centre[3] For Print and Media Arts for the exhibition, “Art[4] Change: engaging with things of great complexity.” Curated by Sally Frater.

I am currently developing a series of drawings and prints based on real-life tragedies of young diasporic South Asian women who were murdered through drowning at the hands of friends and family.For this set of printed scrolls I am focusing on the story of the Shafia family murders. Three Afghan-Canadian teenage sisters and their stepmother were drowned in their family car in the Rideau Canal. Their father, mother and brother were convicted after a sensationalized court trial. Through this project I’m investigating patriarchal cultural norms that exist in all societies to control women’s freedom, power and sexuality.

This set of prints utilizes certain repeated motifs, including pictograms of a female figure and a road sign warning motorists of a waterway. The pictograms are repeated to create abstracted circular patterns when viewed from a distance, but the narrative is only revealed upon closer examination of the text and images. The text is culled from direct quotes from the victims and perpetrators that were presented during the trial.