Riva Nayaju

Bringing awareness on menstruation taboo, using design strategy

Riva Nayaju
Artist Talk & Reception, November 14, 5-7pm

Moffett Gallery
FJ Taylor Visual Arts Center / Room 103

Riva Nayaju is an architect and graphic designer specializing in typography, motion design, watercolor, and print design. She grew up in Nepal and earned her M.F.A. from Oklahoma State University in 2021. She currently teaches graphic design at the University of Northern Iowa as an assistant professor. Her interest in fine art and illustration motivates her to work on tactile projects and she enjoys the process, using a variety of materials and objects. She employs the blend of this hand-crafted work with digital technology as an expansive process. She has showcased her works in many galleries, and won several awards and scholarships throughout her career as an artist.

‘Chhaupadi’, bringing awareness on menstruation taboo, using design strategy

In the Western part of Nepal, in remote Himalayan villages, menstruating girls and women are banished to a faraway shed or dingy-huts because people believe that they are untouchable. This custom is called ‘Chhaupadi’, Chhau meaning, menstruation, and Padi, meaning women. The topic ‘menstruation’ is stigmatized even among family members. Just some outcomes associated with Chhaupadi include infection, suffocation, snakebites, malnutrition, rape, and even death.

The goal of my project is to address the social issue ‘Chhaupadi’ custom through meaningful visual design. The power of a strong visual can help viewers develop an empathetic understanding of social issues such as the menstruation taboo. This project covers the design of materials including storybooks, posters, motion graphics, and a website design. The historical backgrounds of visual narrative, collage narrative, the influence of historical evidence of moving sequences, and several methodologies are reviewed and used for the design of the overall project.