Writing and art on menstruation

Period Matters: bookcover

A pathbreaking anthology on the diverse experiences of menstruation in South Asia.

Menstruation is a topic often buried in fear and shame. Its discussion is even taboo in many societies. But menstruation is a healthy and fundamental bodily process.

A worldwide effort is now firmly underway to bring conversations about menstruation and menstrual health into the open.

Period Matters carries this important endeavour forward.

Period Matters brings together a breadth of perspectives from well-known figures as well as those whose voices are missing from the mainstream.

Essays, artwork, stories and poems from policymakers, entrepreneurs, artists, academics, activists, as well as interviews with those at the margins, such as the homeless and those living with disabilities, explore myriad aspects of how menstruation is experienced in South Asia.

A collection of breathtaking scope and significance, Period Matters illustrates with power, purpose and creativity both the variances and commonalities of menstruation.

Period Matters

An interview with the editor Farah Ahamed
Period Matters - front and back cover

Period Matters includes contributions from

Aakar Innovations • Farah Ahamed • Granaz Baloch • Siba Barkataki • Alnoor Bhimani • Srilekha Chakraborty • Shashi Deshpande • Tishani Doshi • Lyla FreeChild • Zinthiya Ganeshpanchan • Goonj • Menstrupedia • Anish Kapoor • Rupi Kaur • K. Madavane • Amna Mawaz Khan • Sarah Naqvi • Ayra Indrias Patras • Victoria Patrick • Radha Paudel • Radhika Radhakrishnan • Lisa Ray • Mariam Siar • Shahzia Sikander • Shashi Tharoor • Meera Tiwari • Tashi Zangmo

Edited by Farah Ahamed

Publisher: Macmillan
Language: English
Publication date: 28 June 2022

Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 9389104475
ISBN-13: 978-9389104479

Kindle: 16917 KB

Available to purchase

Paperback & Kindle


Performed by Amna Mawaz Khan

Aalap and Composition (Raag Megh): Tanya Hussain Camera: Waqar Arshad Assistance: Tamar Shehzad Editing: Vicky Coordination: Zeejah Fazli

Lyla FreeChild

The book cover for Period Matters features “Aadya Shakti” by Lyla FreeChild

Lyla Freechild with artwork

Lyla FreeChild with artwork

Adya Shakti: artwork

Aadya Shakti

My art was inspired by Lajja Gauri. Lajja Gauri is the lotus-headed Hindu goddess associated with abundance, fertility and sexuality. She is also known as Aadya Shakti (primal energy) and Bhu-devi (Earth goddess).

In my vision of her, I saw myself. In my painting you will see Lajja Gauri  wearing thick bangles, toe rings, anklets and armlets which is the kind of jewelry I always wear. In order to do justice to what I had imagined, I photographed myself extensively. I wanted my art to be very personal and intimate. I had been harvesting my own menstrual blood for several years and had collected enough to use as paint. I was convinced this medium would allow me to reclaim the purity of menstrual blood.

Art for sale

Lyla FreeChild has made her artwork Aadya Shakti and Reflowering available as prints for sale.

These are A3 size Giclee Prints on Museum Etching Paper (high archival quality). Each print is individually signed by the artist. The original artworks were made using ink, acrylics and her menstrual fluid.

Purchasing Lyla’s artwork helps to support her and her art practice. Each print is priced at £30 (GBP 30). If you are interested, please contact us.

Aadya Shakti
Aadya Shakti


Book launch at Muthaiga Country Club, Nairobi

On a warm Friday evening in March, fifteen people gathered at the Muthaiga Country Club in Nairobi to discuss period art as a way of opening up the conversation into the many ways in which menstruation is experienced. Through an engaging power point presentation, participants discussed film, art, sculpture, poetry and other artistic mediums which depicted menstruation. They made period art, shared personal experiences and talked about how periods were shrouded in myths and shame…

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Workshop on Why Period Art Matters

I conducted a workshop which looked at how menstruation is depicted in different forms of art at a university in Lahore. It attracted over 40 participants who engaged in the images and clips I shared, and also made art of their own.

I spoke about the diversity of menstruation experiences and the importance of inclusivity to ensure all menstruators were part of the conversation.

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A Period Piece

By Azadeh Monzavi

My period journey began while walking through the Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s historic train which was making a stop at various cities throughout Turkiye in either 1998 or 1999. I remember vividly jumping off from the train steps and suddenly feeling something happen within my body. I was unsure of what it could have been at the time….

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Why period arts matters

Why Period Art Matters was a live session on Instagram, held on 8th December to celebrate Dignified Menstruation Day It was hosted by the publishers of Period Matters, Pan Macmillan.

The session focussed on the importance of period art as a tool for healing, community building, activism, education and as a pathway to self-connection.

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Why Period Art Matters

Recordings of a live session held on Thursday 8th December

A live session held on Thursday 8th December, hosted by Pan Macmillan India. Celebrating Dignified Menstruation Day. With Farah Ahamed, Granaz Baloch, Lyla FreeChild and Amna Mawaz Khan.

Why Period Art Matters