by Poulomi Basu


I first started working on Centralia in 2010 as a photographic and research project. This material will be published by photo book publisher Dewi Lewis, launching at Paris Photo in November 2019. Through this long-term commitment to the subject I have built up a deep understanding of the subject matter and an extensive network of individuals across the region to ensure the successful delivery of the next phase of this project.

Centralia Recce Footage: Poulomi Basu and CJ Clarke traveled to Chattiasgarh and Jharkhand to plan for a film delving into the situation there. During these trips video recce footage was shot, highlighting the dystopian landscape that has been created in this region by extensive mining.


Click on the Images/Links below:

from Amnesty International The Netherlands’ Wordt Vervoldg Magazine

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Blood Speaks

a previous project by Poulomi Basu

Begun in 2013, Blood Speaks is further evidence of both my long term commitment to the stories on which I work, my ability to execute complex projects and to create impact. This documentary investigates the social, emotional and physical causes and consequences of normalized violence against women perpetrated under the guise of tradition in Nepal and India.

Comprising of an extensive set of still photograph, interviews and three VR (virtual reality) films this project has been widely published and distributed. The films are currently distributed by the Tribeca Film Institute and premiered at the Margaret Mead Film Festival at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. I have presented the project SXSW in 2019 and was selected to Sundance New Frontiers Lab, shortlisted for the Sheffield Doc Fest Alternate Realities Lab, Sheffield Doc Fest Meat Market, and Tim Herthington Visionary Award.

Blood Speaks has placed menstrual taboos and blood politics on the international agenda, featuring in such publications as National Geographic, TIME, The New York Times and NPR to name just a few. The project achieved major impact when the Nepalese government criminalised the practice of menstrual exile in August 2018. Throughout I have worked to create visibility around menstrual related issues. For instance, I launched the campaign #MyBodyIsMine on World Menstruation Day with ActionAid (2018); and, To Be A Girl, with WaterAid, raised £2 million providing 130,000 girls with reusable sanitary kits and built toilets (2014). As a result Amnesty International called me a “brilliant human rights activists breaking the taboos surrounding menstruation” in 2019. And I was featured by Refinery29, alongside Hilary Clinton, as one of the most Amazing Women from Around the World Giving their Best Advice.

The three films detail the stories of three women and are a meditation on exile, isolation and courage in the face of extreme adversity. But they are not stories of passive victims. The women have come forward to share their stories and break taboos. Their participation in the project is a subtle form of dissent and protest. The resulting work it is a testament to their resilience.

Supported by the Magnum Foundation Emergency Fund and the Prince Claus Fund.

For further information please see the dedicated Blood Speaks microsite.


password for all films: bloodspeaks32!

Lakshmi, 29, is forced into exile by her mother in law, who enforces the strictest and longest form of exile. Patriarchal systems perpetuate and cre- ate systems that encourage the oppression of one women by another. Lakshmi has three young children. Five year old Roshan is too young to be without his mother and must endure the exile alongside her. Abandoned by her husband, she faces her exile and raises her children alone. Despite all the obstacles, Lakshmi’s instinct to protect and provide for her children is undeafted.This story is a testament to Lakshmi resilience in the face of such violence and stigma.

Saraswati is exiled as a result of her post-partum bleeding. She must endure the exile with her newborn baby. She is just 16.

Tula is 16. Every month she is exiled as menstruating women are deemed as untouchables. Banished into an animal shed,Tula’s legs are badly bitten by insects and, as a result, are seriously infected. With no access to medicine and living with a restricted diet she must continue to work so that she can support her family. Tula is now thinking of dropping out of school.