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Deaf Nepalese UEL photographer showcases her work in Shoreditch

PUBLISHED: 14:15 21 June 2017 | UPDATED: 14:12 22 June 2017

Lalita Gurung has completed her photography degree at UEL

Lalita Gurung has completed her photography degree at UEL

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A deaf Nepalese photographer from the University of East London credits her disability with enhancing her artistic talent.

Lalita Gurung's photography is inspired by the treatment of widows in her native Nepal. Lalita Gurung's photography is inspired by the treatment of widows in her native Nepal.

Lalita Gurung, who was born in Brunei to Gurkha parents, grew up in Nepal, and came to the UK in 2006, is showing her remarkable final-year photography project in Shoreditch from today.

The 31-year-old says that losing her hearing from meningitis complications when she was eight months old heightened her other senses.

“Being deaf has made me more visual,” she says. “It’s made me more aware of colour, emotions, materials, facial expressions, touch and smell.”

Lalita was raised in Nepal and her work is inspired by her time there.

“I left Nepal with my parents and two brothers and moved to London in 2006,” says Lalita. “I wanted to go to college straight away but my parents didn’t know how to access services for deaf and disabled people.”

With the help of a social worker, she learned British Sign Language and is now about to graduate with a degree from UEL.

From June 22, she will exhibit her work alongside her fellow final-year students at the Old Truman Brewery at a show called “Cascade”.

Lalita’s entries are called “White turns to Red”. The name comes from a local Hindu tradition that forbids women who lose their husbands from wearing the colour red.

Last year, a group of Nepalese widows launched the Red Colour Movement, whose aims including giving widows the right to wear colourful clothing.

“I chose the topic because some of my relatives have experienced the harder side of life for these widows,” says Lalita. “Although now things are changing for the better, there is still a lot of injustice.

“The large number of widows has increased due to wars, the recent earthquake, and illnesses that arose following it.” “I haven’t been able to visit to Nepal since I came to the UK, but I would love to go back and visit family and old friends, and see how things have changed for them and widows since I lived there,” says Lalita.

“Cascade” runs until Monday at the Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane.

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