Following a career in journalism in India, Sujata Setia moved to UK in 2009, to complete her Masters in International Relations from King’s College London.
Her tryst with photography came with the birth of her daughter and the simultaneous deterioration of her mother’s health. Belonging in that liminal space between joy and grief, forced her to speak a language that went beyond words.
Over the past two years, she focused on photographing sensitive marginalised narratives through her series “Changing the Conversation” and “Invisible” that have received several international awards including including winner of British Journal of Photography – Female in Focus 2022.
“A thousand cuts” is derived from the ancient Asian form of torture called “Death by a thousand cuts” or “lingchi”.
This series created in collaboration with the charity – Shewise, presents a photographic study of patterns of domestic abuse in the South Asian community through individual narratives of the survivors. As someone who has grown up witnessing domestic violence in my home, I saw how he chose for her. He chose how she lived and existed. Society, cultural norms, genetic predispositions, gave him that power over her.
This image is about regaining of power by the survivor. Photographed here is Phoenix – عَنْقَاء (Anqā). This is the name she has chosen for herself. Because every time circumstances buried her under the ground… she rose like the Phoenix.
For this image, I have used the ancient Indian art form of paper cutting to make cuts on the body of the portrait and the colour red that shows through these cuts signifies not just strength but also the onset of a new beginning…