Jasmeen Patheja is an artist, feminist, photographer and social entrepreneur based in India.

Jasmeen Patheja is an artist, and also the founder director of Blank Noise, a community of Action Heroes; citizens, persons across India and beyond, united to eradicate sexual, gender based violence. Patheja initiated Blank Noise in response to street harassment, in 2003, as a graduation project , at a time when sexual violence in public spaces was viewed as a non issue.

Jasmeen has worked to break societal denial, create collective ownership of the issue, by mobilising individuals and community to become Action Heroes; take agency in tackling the issue. People and interactions form the core of her work. Patheja is interested in exploring vulnerability, fear, empathy, trust, victim blame, shame, and desire through her practice. Her approach is iterative and evolving. Over the years, she has designed and facilitated a wide range of participatory projects, campaigns, dialogues to confront street harassment, sexual violence, and attitudes informing it.

Select projects at Blank Noise, conceptualised by Jasmeen include, I Never Ask For It (2004 - ongoing), where individuals become Action Heroes by bringing in the garment they wore when they experienced violence. The garment is witness, memory and the senders voice to reject any excuse or justification of sexual violence. In recent years, Blank Noise efforts go beyond the street, towards building connection between spaces of violence, and the identities experiencing it, informing project I Never Ask For It. Garments will be installed in sites of public significance in 2022.

Project Meet To Sleep (2014- ongoing ), brings Action Heroes to sleep in their very own public parks, asserting the right to occupy, and to live defenceless. The event has been held in over 13 cities, towns in India and Pakistan.

Talk To Me (2012) , brings men and women to an hour long conversation over tea and samosas, on unsafe sites, in efforts to confront our story of fear, its politics. Patheja’s practice is built, informed, by the community of Action Heroes, also project participants and sometimes collaborators.

Patheja is also a photographer. She collaborates with her grandmother, Inderjit Kaur on a series of photo performances.

Patheja is a TED and Ashoka Fellow. She was recently awarded the Awesome Without Borders Grant from the Harnisch Foundation. She also received Namma Bengaluru Foundation Social Entrepreneurship award in 2017. The International Award For Public Art, was given to Patheja in 2015, towards the project Talk To Me (Blank Noise). CNN IBN recognised her for contributing to Citizen Journalism. (2013) . She has received numerous media mentions including, The Atlantic, BBC, The Guardian, New York Times. BBC Hindi nominated her as one of their 100 women in 2015. She has also been nominated by Vogue India (2014) as one of their 50 inspiring women in their #VogueEmpower campaign. Patheja serves on the advisory board of Fem Tech Net. She is currently artist in residence at the Srishti Institute of Art Design and Technology.

Contact info: contact@jasmeenpatheja.com

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Awards , Recognition, Fellowships.

 

2017: Speaker at TED Talks India , Nayi Soch , hosted by Shahrukh Khan and Star Plus.

2017: Awarded Social Entrepreneur of The Year, by Namma Bengaluru Foundation, Bangalore

2016: Select participant of the Well Being Project , a collaborative project led by Ashoka, Esalen, Synergos, Skoll Foundation, drawing attention to personal well being in social entrepreneurship.

2015: Winner of the International Award For Public Art, Forecast Public Art, Public Art Review, University of Shanghai | Project - Talk To Me, Blank Noise

2015: Select TED Fellow for  supporTED’s Collaboratorium programme , creating support for TED fellows tackling next step challenges, in their practice.

2014: Nominated as finalist IDEO.ORG Women Safety Challenge | Project: Talk To Me, Blank Noise

2014: Nominated for the Bangalore Heroes Award by Bangalore Mirror Daily

2014: Listed by Vogue, India Magazine as one of its fifty inspiring women.

2013: Ongoing: Artist in Residence at Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore

2013: Awarded for Citizen Journalism by CNN IBN, towards Blank Noise

2013: Listed in MORE Magazine’s annual ‘Fierce List’. 

2013: Nominated for the ‘Amazing Indians’ Award by Times Now.

2010: Recipient of Young Leader award for Blank Noise, Civil Society Summit,  Bangalore.

2010: Arts 3331 Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan, building ‘Tokyo Action Heroes’ with Blank Noise

2009: Awarded TED India Fellowship

2008: Artist in Residency and exhibition,  "What Do You Want", curated by Cathy Rae Huffman,  at Corner House, Manchester, UK, towards building  dialogue on street harassment in Manchester City.

2007: Asia Society , Young Leaders Summit , Singapore

2007 : Awarded Fellowship By Ashoka Innovators For The Public.

2006: Artist in Residence at Khoj, New Delhi, for public art , towards mobilising Delhi Action Heroes. 

2005: Awarded Artist in residency programme at  Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart Germany. Duration 14 months between 2007, 2008, 2010.

2005: Research fellowship from Sarai CSDS Fellowship towards Blank Noise.

2002: Artist in Residence at Regent College, Leicester, UK.  Participatory photography project exploring notions of masculinity


Select Talks & Conferences

2017

  • Conference and talk on ‘Being Action Heroes’: Co Creating Safe Spaces, at Concordia University, Montreal, Canada. Organised by Studio XX and The Institute Of Urban Futures.  The panel was chaired by Kim Sawchuk and Yasmin Jiwani. 
  • Guest lecture at Mc Gill University, Department of Art History and Communication Studies,  Carrie Rentschler Montreal, Canada.
  • Workshop at Studio XX towards building Montreal Action Heroes and the I Never Ask For It project.
  • Guest lecture, MA Fine Arts and BA Art and Media Studies, at the Zurich University, Switzerland, via skype.
  • Talk at Ambedkar University of Technology, Bangalore, India, in association with Namma Bengaluru Foundation.

2016

  • Artist talk exploring fear narratives, fear politics, trust, empathy, sharing the work of Blank Noise, at School of The Art Institute of Chicago. USA. Curatorial Studies Department, Sullivan Galleries.
  • Artist talk with Suzanne Lacy’s project, ‘The School For Revolutionary Girls’, Ireland, a project involving teenaged girls, led by artist Suzanne Lacy.
  • Artist talk  at Allegheny College, USA, bringing together intergenerational group of feminist artists. Project led and initiated by Suzanne Lacy, and Leslie Labowitz.  Presentation via internet.
  • Guest lecture at Masters of Art In Public Space, RMIT University, Australia. Lecture via Skype.

2015

  • Project ‘Talk To Me’, Blank Noise, presented at Cities In A Climate of Change, University of Auckland, New Zealand, in association with Forecast Public Art, University of Shanghai.

2014

  • Workshop with the Tibetan Women’s Association, Dharamsala, India, towards project I Never Ask For It.
  • Conversations with Namu Kini: An online talk show for women that turns the spotlight on people who have contributed greatly to the community. 

2013

  • Teaching students at Srishti Institute of Art, Design & Technology, Bangalore, India. A three week course on feminism, lived practice, fear politics, empathy and trust Being Action Heroes.

2012

  • Talk and Workshop at BMW Guggenheim Lab, Mumbai, India, towards building safe, inclusive cities and spaces, with fellow Action Heroes, Annie Zaidi and Hemangini Gupta.
  • Teaching students at Srishti Institute of Art, Design & Technology, Bangalore, India. A three week course on feminism, lived practice, fear politics, empathy and trust Being Action Heroes.

2011

  • Presenting Blank Noise and its Action Heroes, at The Carter Center, Human Rights Defenders Forum,  Atlanta, USA, conference Of Heaven And Earth.

2010

  • Talk at Digital Natives With A Cause, Thinkathon with Hivos, Center for Internet and Society, The Hague, Netherlands
  • Talk/ conference, ‘Dealing With Fear’, Akademie Schloss Solitude, Germany.
  • Participant at Vital Voices : Women’s Leadership and Training Summit, New Delhi.

2009

  • Talk about Blank Noise, media and communities. Symbiosis Institute, Pune. Cyber MediaConclave.

2008

  • Conference Presentation - Talk at Protest: Reflections and Revolutions, ATM08 Symposium, Manchester, United Kingdom.

Jury positions

2016 : Juror for the International Award For Public Art 


Consultancies


Mentoring
2017:  Appointed as a mentor by CREA for the Young Women Leadership Programme. The programme is led by CREA and Global Funds For Women, and brings together mentors in South Asia to enable young women's leadership. 


Education


2003: Received Diploma in Art and Design, Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore, India.


Select Projects

Blank Noise

Jasmeen Patheja has designed a series of interventions between 2003 - (ongoing), to generate public discourse on street harassment, sexual and gender based violence.  Select projects over the decade listed below. Each project idea has taken shape through the participation and engagement of the Blank Noise Action Hero community, and allies.

I Never Ask For It: ongoing
I Never Ask For It is a global call to end victim blame. Most women, girls and individuals can easily recall the clothes they wore when they experienced violence. This memory is linked to the deep rooted nature of victim blame; that which is internalised and has long justified sexual violence. The project takes shape through a process of co creation, with individuals, communities stepping in with their personal narratives to end blame, by bringing in a garment they wore when they experienced violence. The garment is memory, witness, testimony. The project envisions thousands of garment and audio testimonials standing together, in sites of public significance. The project is motivated by the power of the collective to heal. Learn more >

Meet To Sleep: ongoing, 2014 onwards
Meet To Sleep responds to the environment of warnings that justify sexual violence, by inviting individuals to be ‘Action Heroes’ by taking a nap in their public parks. The event enables women across city spaces to shift the fear based relationship women have been taught to have with their public spaces, affirming the right to be defenceless. Learn more >

Talk To Me: ongoing, 2012 onwards
Cities include Bangalore, Delhi, Kolkata. Talk To Me brings ‘Action Heroes’ to a conversation with a stranger over tea and samosa in spaces that are perceived as unsafe. The two strangers across the table have to commit to an hour long conversation about anything except sexual violence. The intervention is designed to question fear, and discomfort. It seeks to empathy. The first Action Heroes for Talk To Me were students at Srishti Institute of Art, Design & Technology. Learn more >

Being Idle years 2006- 2009/ Performance and live action.
Cities - Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta, Lucknow, Patna, Chennai, Hyderabad
Action Heroes believe that visibility and occupying makes a place feel safe. As Action Heroes we step out to make a place safe. In 2006 Action Heroes would appear idle on Bangalore’s Brigade Road and simultaneously in other cities through parallel events across India. Learn more >

 

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