The Ligatures of Life


The local mafia and politicians actually support rape. The rapists are labelled criminals and are easily absorbed in organised crime to avoid persecution, they become bonded criminals, it’s a vicious cycle. When a girl is raped, I have seen, it is only her mother, who is truly supportive. The men are busy expressing outrage over her lost honour.
— Mangla Prasad, grassroots human rights activist

PROject: unearthed: stories of courage in the face of sexual violence

Part of: based in part on proof's legacy of rape and my body a war zone projects

stakeholders: national foundation of india (local partner) | breakthrough TV india | Centre for Social Research | the places of rape project

CUrator: Leora Kahn

designer: willhemina wahlin


Research Focus: design brief development | interpretation methods | bilingual exhibition design




Unearthed: Stories of Courage in the Face of Sexual Violence, is an exhibition off-shoot of PROOF's Legacy of Rape/My Body a War Zone project.

The Legacy of Rape project was created by PROOF: Media for Social Justice and focuses on the issue of rape used as a weapon during war and its effects on women and communities, and campaigns against the impunity enjoyed by perpetrators at local, national and international levels of justice. The Legacy of Rape has featured the photographic portraits and testimonies of rape survivors from Colombia (photographer, Blake Fitch), Bosnia and Herzegovina (photographers, Laura Boushnak and Midhat Poturović), the Democratic Republic of Congo (photographer, Pete Muller) and Nepal (photographer, NayanTara Gurung Kakshapati).

Click here for more information on The Legacy of Rape. Alternatively, the video below, by Antonia Eklund for PROOF, shows the impact project has had on women in Colombia.

PROOF was approached by the Indian-based non-profit organisations, the National Foundation of India, the Centre for Social Research and Breakthrough TV, to create a version of The Legacy of Rape exhibition specifically for Indian audiences. This became 'Unearthed: Stories of Courage in the Face of Sexual Violence'.

Unearthed departs from The Legacy of Rape in other ways:  it contains testimonies of upstanders against rape as well as survivors, and also includes a section of images from 'The Places of Rape' project, a crowd-sourced photo-documentary project that is raising awareness of the role that poor urban planning plays in creating unsafe areas for women and girls.


Unearthed built upon the findings of Broken?, taking a more measured approach to project research and documentation, enabling the project team to communicate through a central document. This brief was shaped by the central questions of the CHaSSMM Model, including stakeholder background, project issue background and a complete list of he semiotic resources to be included in the exhibition (pre-design).


These two documents share some similarities, however, the design brief contains background information on the issue, while the production brief contains more technical details.

Both documents below can be read online. Click on the square at the bottom right hand corner to view full screen.

Document 1 contains the design brief, which includes background information on the project, project aims and preliminary design elements.

Document 2 contains the production brief, which omits extended project background information, but includes detailed information on production materials, measurements, production schedules and a map of content.

Please note you may need to refresh your browser to view the embedded booklets below.



Images courtesy of PROOF: Media for Social Justice.