New York, NY – The epic comic book, PRIYA’S SHAKTI, which presents a new Indian female superhero and rape survivor who tackles the problem of sexual violence in India and around the world, is having an augmented reality exhibition at City Lore Gallery in New York City. The first of its kind, the entire gallery will be turned into a walk-in comic book, where audiences can unlock special animation, videos, real-life stories, and bring other interactive elements to life via Blippar, the leading mobile visual discovery platform and mobile app. To bring any image in the gallery to life, audiences simply need to download the Blippar mobile app on an Apple, Android or Windows device and hold it up to an image from Priya’s Shakti. Instantaneously, the images will come alive and viewers will be able to interact with engaging digital content directly on the device’s screen.
The opening reception is on May 7, 2015 at 7:30pm, and is part of the PEN World Voices Festival. Also, a large colorful augmented reality mural from the comic book was on display at the Tribeca Film Festival.
The innovative comic book premiered at the Mumbai Film and Comics Convention in December 2014 and immediately went viral with over 300 feature news stories all over the world, and in all of the major newspapers and publications in India. The comic books started a national debate in India on how society treats rape survivors and patriarchal views. The comic book’s superhero, Priya, was honored by UN Women as a “Gender Equality Champion.”
Inspired by ancient mythological tales, the comic book tells the story of Priya—a mortal woman and gang-rape survivor—and the Goddess Parvati as they fight against gender-based sexual violence in India and around the world, supporting the movement against patriarchy, misogyny and indifference. Priya has become a global phenomena and one of the “top ten female comic book characters to watch out for in the future.”
This project will help define the new frontier of integrating literary publications and exhibitions as well as social impact media with Blippar’s proprietary augmented reality technology. Commenting on the comic book, Blippar founder and CEO Ambarish Mitra said, “We’re proud to collaborate with Priya’s Shakti – not only to bring India’s first interactive comic to life for American audiences but to also exhibit the power new technologies have to raise awareness around social causes and create new channels for charitable giving.”
“Talking with several rape survivors, I realized how difficult it was for them to get justice,” said Ram Devineni. “Often, they do not report crimes out of fear for their lives, or to avoid the backlash they may face from their family, authorities, and community. The burden of shame is placed on the victim and not the perpetrators. Priya’s Shakti highlights the threat of sexual harassment and violence that women face on a daily basis unless deeply rooted patriarchal norms are challenged. Priya is a new hero for a modern India.” “Stories like Priya’s are in the news often these days, not just in India but in all nations and online,” comments artist Dan Goldman. “With Priya’s Shakti came the chance to put a symbolic face to this issue and enlighten all genders about sexual violence, and there’s no format better suited to this than the instantly accessible medium of comics.”
Following the exhibition in New York City, the comic book will be on display or presented at Scuola Holden – Storytelling & Performing Arts (Torino, Italy), DocsBarcelona Festival (Barcelona, Spain), TEDx Talk (London, UK), Sheffield Documentary Festival (UK), Cooler Lumpur Festival (Malaysia), and Civita di Bagnoregio (Rome). Priya’s Shakti is a recipient of a 2014 Tribeca Film Institute New Media Fund grant supported by Ford Foundation.
For more information, visit www.priyashakti.com.