Canadian Visual Artist
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Contemporary Indian Feminism Is A Scroll Away, 2016. Digital collage

Contemporary Indian Feminism Is A Scroll Away, 2016. Digital collage

This digital collage is a compilation of screenshots archived through social media applications like Snapchat, Twitter and Facebook. In a broader context, this collage discusses the role of social media in informing a normative framework for cultural identity. Realizing these screen shots into digital collage speaks to the overwhelming way that social media and the Internet also inform non-residential Indians of the Indian feminist movement. Images collected include screen shots of women celebrating Holi from Snapchat's "Holi in India" live event juxtaposed against a photograph of a banner put up in the holy city of Varanasi on Holi, warning women celebrating the religious holiday to be wary of drunk men on the same day. Also included are screenshots of headlines and tweets from Indian news accounts like the Hindustani Times and international social news and entertainment companies like Buzzfeed and the Independent. 

International Women's Day Headlines, 2016. Digital collage.

International Women's Day Headlines, 2016. Digital collage.

This collage compliments a previous collage Contemporary Indian Feminism Is A Scroll Away (2016). Headlines, ads and article cutouts used are from a Hindustani Times' International Women's Day (March 8, 2015) special edition newspaper which my father brought from India in his most recent visit. The intense layering and it's context is meant to overwhelm the viewer with the complexity of India's rapidly changing feminist movement. Content used discusses cultural stigmas surrounding women buying themselves contraceptives, watching porn and the overall negative perception surrounding the secret sex life of the Indian woman. Cutouts of news like the rape of a girl by a school magician (aided by her teacher) and the incident of a 14 year old girl being harassed by a drunken NRI on a flight are put juxtaposed against news that highlight progression in India's handling of women's issues. One image included reads that "Female commuters' complaints to 181 helpline get 70 new DTC buses on the road", another mentions that the government is footing medical aid to a recent acid attack victim. "Being a girl is a matter of pride, we should live with this idea" reads a highlighted quote from an interview with Cadet Kumudini Bhutani in a special article entitled "Rising above social taboos in Haryana", which interviews a female military nurse, Navy lieutenant, and airforce cadet abolishing gender expectations in their respective career fields. In the middle of the collage is an altered photograph by Sanjeev Verma from the special edition cover story "Revolver Ranis", highlighting 'gunslinger grannies' Chandro Tomar and her sister-in-law Prakashi as 'poster girls for women shooters in Uttar Pradesh'. 

 

 

Tire Change Rani (2016). Oil and acrylic on canvas, 24x30 inches

Tire Change Rani (2016). Oil and acrylic on canvas, 24x30 inches

Continuation of Badass Indian Pinup series.

Ghar Khab Aa Rahe Ho? (2016) Oil and acrylic on wood panel, 6x8 inches.

Ghar Khab Aa Rahe Ho? (2016) Oil and acrylic on wood panel, 6x8 inches.

Continuation of Badass Indian Pinup series.

My Kind of Wonder Woman (2016). Oil and acrylic on wood panel, 16x20 inches.

My Kind of Wonder Woman (2016). Oil and acrylic on wood panel, 16x20 inches.

Continuation of Badass Indian Pinup series.

Team India Cricket Babe (2016). Oil on canvas, 11x14 inches

Team India Cricket Babe (2016). Oil on canvas, 11x14 inches

Continuation of Badass Indian Pinup series.

Empress of the Runway (2016). Oil on canvas, 36 x 48 inches

Empress of the Runway (2016). Oil on canvas, 36 x 48 inches

Social Media Monarchy is a series of oil portraits which aim to idolize social media icons within the South Asian diaspora who transgress limitations set by culture, race, sexuality and gender. All individuals in this series have used social media to create a community of acceptance for first/second generation South Asians and have become leaders and change makers within the community. By placing marginalized individuals in oil portraiture I am disrupting the purpose of the portrait as traditionally being reserved for upper class and monarchy. This painting features Alok Vaid-Menon of former poetry duo, Dark Matter Poetry. The title 'Empress of the Runway' pays homage to Alok's daily celebration of transfemme visibility in NYC, almost as if they use their surroundings as a runway. The title also references Winterhalter's 1854 'Empress Eugine' which influenced the composition for this piece. 

Talking Back With The Selfie Gaze (2016). Oil on canvas, 36x48 inches.

Talking Back With The Selfie Gaze (2016). Oil on canvas, 36x48 inches.

Social Media Monarchy is a series of oil portraits which aim to idolize social media icons within the South Asian diaspora who transgress limitations set by culture, race, sexuality and gender. All individuals in this series have used social media to create a community of acceptance for first/second generation South Asians and have become leaders and change makers within the community. By placing marginalized individuals in oil portraiture I am disrupting the purpose of the portrait as traditionally being reserved for upper class and monarchy. Talking Back With The Selfie Gaze features Sanam Sindhi with one hand holding an iPhone and the other hovering over the world while she takes a mirror selfie. The composition is meant to portray her sexual confidence and its global influence via social media after her mainstream exposure in Rihanna's music video for 'B*tch Better Have My Money'. Referencing the title, the composition portrays the 'selfie gaze', allowing the figure to be the producer of the gaze in a intimate/private way in juxtaposition with her online popularity (symbolized by globe).

Bharti And The Cheeseburger (2016). Oil on canvas, 36 x 48 inches.

Bharti And The Cheeseburger (2016). Oil on canvas, 36 x 48 inches.

Social Media Monarchy is a series of oil portraits which aim to idolize social media icons within the South Asian diaspora who transgress limitations set by culture, race, sexuality and gender. All individuals in this series have used social media to create a community of acceptance for first/second generation South Asians and have become leaders and change makers within the community. By placing marginalized individuals in oil portraiture I am disrupting the purpose of the portrait as traditionally being reserved for upper class and monarchy. Bharti And The Cheeseburger (2016) is a portrait of Tanya Rawal, who is a Philosophy professor at California State University Los Angeles and also the face of a project called Saree Not Saree. Saree Not Saree aims to utilize fashion to confront the anti-immigration discourse in the United States. Tanya teaches in a saree at the university to fight assimilation and make her ethnicity a gift to American culture. Bharti and The Cheeseburger depicts a Hindu woman with Indian pride coyly looking at the viewer before eating a forbidden beef burger. The composition takes from pinup culture and Carls Jr commercials to depict a woman using the saree as a tool for change and dissent from a bicultural Indo-North American perspective. This piece also confronts India's (and many South Asian countries') history of equating women to a national identity. The use of "Bharti" similar to "Bharat"(name of india before partition and colonization) is intentionally contrasted against an Americanized portrayal of female patriotic pride to portray tension between expectations of Indian women (traditionally rooted in heteropatriachal nationalism) and the current state of intolerance for dissent in India.

Venus Shraya (2016) Oil on canvas, 36 x 48 inches.

Venus Shraya (2016) Oil on canvas, 36 x 48 inches.

Social Media Monarchy is a series of oil portraits which aim to idolize social media icons within the South Asian diaspora who transgress limitations set by culture, race, sexuality and gender. All individuals in this series have used social media to create a community of acceptance for first/second generation South Asians and have become leaders and change makers within the community. By placing marginalized individuals in oil portraiture I am disrupting the purpose of the portrait as traditionally being reserved for upper class and monarchy. Venus Shraya is a painting of Toronto based author and artist Vivek Shraya in a composition which appropriates Titian's 1583 'Venus of Urbino'. Here Shraya celebrates the God-like beauty of trans women of colour by taking on the pose of a Roman goddess and confidently returning the viewer's gaze. The returning of the gaze in this piece speaks to the lack of representation of trans people of colour in canonical European paintings while also forcing the viewer to reconsider their preconceived notions of femininity, power and beauty.

Contemporary Indian Feminism Is A Scroll Away, 2016. Digital collage

This digital collage is a compilation of screenshots archived through social media applications like Snapchat, Twitter and Facebook. In a broader context, this collage discusses the role of social media in informing a normative framework for cultural identity. Realizing these screen shots into digital collage speaks to the overwhelming way that social media and the Internet also inform non-residential Indians of the Indian feminist movement. Images collected include screen shots of women celebrating Holi from Snapchat's "Holi in India" live event juxtaposed against a photograph of a banner put up in the holy city of Varanasi on Holi, warning women celebrating the religious holiday to be wary of drunk men on the same day. Also included are screenshots of headlines and tweets from Indian news accounts like the Hindustani Times and international social news and entertainment companies like Buzzfeed and the Independent. 

International Women's Day Headlines, 2016. Digital collage.

This collage compliments a previous collage Contemporary Indian Feminism Is A Scroll Away (2016). Headlines, ads and article cutouts used are from a Hindustani Times' International Women's Day (March 8, 2015) special edition newspaper which my father brought from India in his most recent visit. The intense layering and it's context is meant to overwhelm the viewer with the complexity of India's rapidly changing feminist movement. Content used discusses cultural stigmas surrounding women buying themselves contraceptives, watching porn and the overall negative perception surrounding the secret sex life of the Indian woman. Cutouts of news like the rape of a girl by a school magician (aided by her teacher) and the incident of a 14 year old girl being harassed by a drunken NRI on a flight are put juxtaposed against news that highlight progression in India's handling of women's issues. One image included reads that "Female commuters' complaints to 181 helpline get 70 new DTC buses on the road", another mentions that the government is footing medical aid to a recent acid attack victim. "Being a girl is a matter of pride, we should live with this idea" reads a highlighted quote from an interview with Cadet Kumudini Bhutani in a special article entitled "Rising above social taboos in Haryana", which interviews a female military nurse, Navy lieutenant, and airforce cadet abolishing gender expectations in their respective career fields. In the middle of the collage is an altered photograph by Sanjeev Verma from the special edition cover story "Revolver Ranis", highlighting 'gunslinger grannies' Chandro Tomar and her sister-in-law Prakashi as 'poster girls for women shooters in Uttar Pradesh'. 

 

 

Tire Change Rani (2016). Oil and acrylic on canvas, 24x30 inches

Continuation of Badass Indian Pinup series.

Ghar Khab Aa Rahe Ho? (2016) Oil and acrylic on wood panel, 6x8 inches.

Continuation of Badass Indian Pinup series.

My Kind of Wonder Woman (2016). Oil and acrylic on wood panel, 16x20 inches.

Continuation of Badass Indian Pinup series.

Team India Cricket Babe (2016). Oil on canvas, 11x14 inches

Continuation of Badass Indian Pinup series.

Empress of the Runway (2016). Oil on canvas, 36 x 48 inches

Social Media Monarchy is a series of oil portraits which aim to idolize social media icons within the South Asian diaspora who transgress limitations set by culture, race, sexuality and gender. All individuals in this series have used social media to create a community of acceptance for first/second generation South Asians and have become leaders and change makers within the community. By placing marginalized individuals in oil portraiture I am disrupting the purpose of the portrait as traditionally being reserved for upper class and monarchy. This painting features Alok Vaid-Menon of former poetry duo, Dark Matter Poetry. The title 'Empress of the Runway' pays homage to Alok's daily celebration of transfemme visibility in NYC, almost as if they use their surroundings as a runway. The title also references Winterhalter's 1854 'Empress Eugine' which influenced the composition for this piece. 

Talking Back With The Selfie Gaze (2016). Oil on canvas, 36x48 inches.

Social Media Monarchy is a series of oil portraits which aim to idolize social media icons within the South Asian diaspora who transgress limitations set by culture, race, sexuality and gender. All individuals in this series have used social media to create a community of acceptance for first/second generation South Asians and have become leaders and change makers within the community. By placing marginalized individuals in oil portraiture I am disrupting the purpose of the portrait as traditionally being reserved for upper class and monarchy. Talking Back With The Selfie Gaze features Sanam Sindhi with one hand holding an iPhone and the other hovering over the world while she takes a mirror selfie. The composition is meant to portray her sexual confidence and its global influence via social media after her mainstream exposure in Rihanna's music video for 'B*tch Better Have My Money'. Referencing the title, the composition portrays the 'selfie gaze', allowing the figure to be the producer of the gaze in a intimate/private way in juxtaposition with her online popularity (symbolized by globe).

Bharti And The Cheeseburger (2016). Oil on canvas, 36 x 48 inches.

Social Media Monarchy is a series of oil portraits which aim to idolize social media icons within the South Asian diaspora who transgress limitations set by culture, race, sexuality and gender. All individuals in this series have used social media to create a community of acceptance for first/second generation South Asians and have become leaders and change makers within the community. By placing marginalized individuals in oil portraiture I am disrupting the purpose of the portrait as traditionally being reserved for upper class and monarchy. Bharti And The Cheeseburger (2016) is a portrait of Tanya Rawal, who is a Philosophy professor at California State University Los Angeles and also the face of a project called Saree Not Saree. Saree Not Saree aims to utilize fashion to confront the anti-immigration discourse in the United States. Tanya teaches in a saree at the university to fight assimilation and make her ethnicity a gift to American culture. Bharti and The Cheeseburger depicts a Hindu woman with Indian pride coyly looking at the viewer before eating a forbidden beef burger. The composition takes from pinup culture and Carls Jr commercials to depict a woman using the saree as a tool for change and dissent from a bicultural Indo-North American perspective. This piece also confronts India's (and many South Asian countries') history of equating women to a national identity. The use of "Bharti" similar to "Bharat"(name of india before partition and colonization) is intentionally contrasted against an Americanized portrayal of female patriotic pride to portray tension between expectations of Indian women (traditionally rooted in heteropatriachal nationalism) and the current state of intolerance for dissent in India.

Venus Shraya (2016) Oil on canvas, 36 x 48 inches.

Social Media Monarchy is a series of oil portraits which aim to idolize social media icons within the South Asian diaspora who transgress limitations set by culture, race, sexuality and gender. All individuals in this series have used social media to create a community of acceptance for first/second generation South Asians and have become leaders and change makers within the community. By placing marginalized individuals in oil portraiture I am disrupting the purpose of the portrait as traditionally being reserved for upper class and monarchy. Venus Shraya is a painting of Toronto based author and artist Vivek Shraya in a composition which appropriates Titian's 1583 'Venus of Urbino'. Here Shraya celebrates the God-like beauty of trans women of colour by taking on the pose of a Roman goddess and confidently returning the viewer's gaze. The returning of the gaze in this piece speaks to the lack of representation of trans people of colour in canonical European paintings while also forcing the viewer to reconsider their preconceived notions of femininity, power and beauty.

Contemporary Indian Feminism Is A Scroll Away, 2016. Digital collage
International Women's Day Headlines, 2016. Digital collage.
Tire Change Rani (2016). Oil and acrylic on canvas, 24x30 inches
Ghar Khab Aa Rahe Ho? (2016) Oil and acrylic on wood panel, 6x8 inches.
My Kind of Wonder Woman (2016). Oil and acrylic on wood panel, 16x20 inches.
Team India Cricket Babe (2016). Oil on canvas, 11x14 inches
Empress of the Runway (2016). Oil on canvas, 36 x 48 inches
Talking Back With The Selfie Gaze (2016). Oil on canvas, 36x48 inches.
Bharti And The Cheeseburger (2016). Oil on canvas, 36 x 48 inches.
Venus Shraya (2016) Oil on canvas, 36 x 48 inches.