Crimson Tide Making Waves: Activism, Art, and Lyla Freechild

Written by Alona Arneson

Art, (especially in the political context) seeks to not only comment on the consequences of  the systemic oppression which occurs within the realm of menstrual health but also seeks to revive the organic beauty that is found at the very foundation of human empowerment. An emerging artist in India, creating under the name of Lyla Freechild, interacts with varying mediums of artistry that incorporate period blood and scraps of menstrual products. Not only does this separate her from a lot of the contemporary discourse concerning menstrual health, but also demonstrates that the direct synergy between people and their reproductive health isn’t shameful but rather a pillar for the elegance of biological complexity.

As Freechild curates pieces centered around her intimate relationship with menstrual health she aims to construct an ever-expanding political axis that calls for the bolstering of the beauty held in menstrual/reproductive health while simultaneously stimulating a conversation about what still must be done for the movement. Synonymous with the aims of Operation Period, these forms of indirect protest attempt to fill in the educational gaps associated with procreative health while maintaining the aesthetic autonomy of menstrual activism as a whole. The issue with movements and protests isn’t in the intent or purpose, but rather with the necessary transition from political protest to tangible revolution--a line that these artists and our organization intend to cross.

As leaders and students who claim to be students of the globe, we must keep in mind that the success of international movements directly impacts the success of movements domestically. These oppressions tied up to menstruation are not exclusive to women, “Americans”, or developing countries, but rather are discriminatory inequities that impact without borders. In order to make the passage from a vessel of protest to a genuine revolutionary shift, we must press for education and resources in regards to all, a sentiment that is shared in the artistic works of activist Lyla Freechild.


Additional information & links about Lyla Freechild:

Instagram: @lyla_freechild

“The Works of 9 Indian Artists That Truly Made a Mark this Year”

“Painting with menstrual blood, these artists are doing the period talk” doing-the-period-talk/articleshow/63061043.cms

Alona Arneson