Unseen Darkness, Collabs, and ANBU

“Unseen Darkness” is one of my favourite pieces and most powerful collaborations. It 9d08101b-a66a-4afa-8a72-093db0e4dee4
provided me with an opportunity to work with the talented at artist, Thiviyaa Sehasothy of Art by Thiviyaa, and Dilani Bala, Photographer extraordinaire. But as in the true nature of collabs, this piece extended past the three of us, and has a story of many admirable people/women.
Below I want to share my story, as that is the one I can speak to.

Where does this story begin?… In many different places, with many different people.

It began with a post about VAW shared across three Instagram channels.

It began when Thiviyaa created a beautiful piece from the (just as soul speaking) work of Dilani.

It began with a phone call to Thiviyaa, asking if she would want to create a piece for this poem.

It began when Abuse Never Becomes Us (ANBU) asked me if I had a photo to accompany the poem. I said, “Not yet, but there is only one person I want to ask.”

It began with ANBU, who reached out to me to share a piece for their March 2017 Newsletter.

It began with the stellar performance of my friend Sathya Thillainathan, who told Anbu about my poetry after she performed at their launch event.

It began from conversations with survivors; legal workers; counselors; politicians,  and groups, like the South Asian Women’s Centre; the South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario; Canadian Council of Muslim Women; Againcourt Community Services Association; with conversations with activists like Deepa Mattoo, Farrah Khan, Maryum Anis and others.

It began with sitting on municipal; provincial; national roundtables and strategy meetings; asking “white” women to understand that, not all violence could be seen.

It began with projects on Gender Based Violence; Violence Against Women; Honour Based Violence and asking people to look past their conception of race, culture, and violence.

It began with conversations with my family and friends.

It began with personal experiences.

It began…

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**Previously shared on Instagram.

Author’s Note: Just a note, even if you are not directly mentioned you have impacted my life, story and work. This story, specifically was the story of “unseen darkness”.


Day 264: Reconciling (Feminist) Hinduism

I belong to a
that celebrates
the strength
of my gender and a
religion that tells me
that I am “less than”
because of who I am.

© Manivillie Kanagasabapathy

AN: apologies for the resending but just fixed an error. 


Day 252: Unseen Darkness


When you tried to paint
my body in colours of
blue and purple,
my dark skin
hid your sins
from eyes trained
in the glow of
soft white light.

© Manivillie Kanagasabapathy

Day 68: The Women

On this sacred day,
I give thanks
For the many women
Who have made me strong
And the many women
Who continue to inspire me
To be more than I can imagine.

My mother who bore me,
Nine months of pain,
To birth a child,
Who needed special care.
She did not stumble,
In her love and protection,
Teaching me that I was
More than a medical diagnosis
Her child in every way
Patient, kind and loving.

My aunts who supported me,
From the ones who flew
To my mother’s side,
Her sister by marriage
Friend in trust,
To those not bound by blood,
Never making us feel a loss,
Though our mother’s arms were gone,
Reminding me that we were always,
Giving, smart and inclusive.

My sister who loves me,
A protector and fighter,
My first friend,
Who set the standard so high,
Reminding me that I am
Gold and diamonds,
A precious gift to all.

All my other sisters in my corner,
Bonded by blood or love,
Who keep me on my toes,
Inspire me to change
And teach me that I am
Worthy, a fighter and flexible.

The young women in the generation after,
Who remind me that things get better,
All that has been accomplished
To recall that legacy
Is passed on.
The new bearers of herstory
That we are
Resilient, demonstrative and kind.

© Manivillie Kanagasabapathy


International Women's Day (2)

Image used with permission from Art by Thiviyaa

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