Smile in the mirror

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Smile in the mirror

Friday, 08 March 2019 | Team Viva

Smile in the mirror

Six Indian women artists talk about how their doodle for Snapchat makes them express their moods. By Team Viva

Women are often stereotyped and associated to being “emotional.”

On International Women’s Day, Kara Rivers, programme manager of Snapchat talks about how the social media platform is about creativity and self-expression, making it a place to portray one’s true self.

She brings six women artists from across India who have “unique perspectives on what it means to be women and to use Snapchat as a ‘microphone’ to empower them and give them a voice.”

Sumouli Dutta, from Kolkata, shares, “There are different kinds of women in the world, all striving to do and give their best. By my doodle, I want to keep it Indian and showcase that being desi can also be fun.”

Mira Malhotra, from Mumbai, shares one of her experiences from which her doodle has been inspired, “When I returned to India after the Gulf War ended, I could spot the difference between the freedom that women experience in India as compared to that in Saudi Arabia. I had to delve deeper into the Indian culture. My work is inspired by both being an outsider, and an insider as well from witnessing the evolution of the Indian culture in the last decade.”

She adds, “My idea was to use the power of women, their femininity and how they are stronger when together. All of the five concepts tie in to power: Women’s power as shown in Indian concepts of divinity (Goddess); power of friendship between women (saheliyan, saheli swag); power of the sisterhood (sister shakti); and power of women’s protest (mahila mayhem/stand together).”

Tanya Eden from Mumbai, believes in “overcoming hate and judgement everyday.”

She says, “As a woman this is what inspires me to create my artwork on Snapchat, serving it back with boldness and a hint of humour to represent women. The focus is to present a liberal, powerful young woman who speaks her truth in the local slag lingo, sporting a bindi and non-traditional dresses,” and adds, “We are liberated today, but our journey has overcome huge hurdles of judgement. Women in India come from diverse backgrounds, traditions, religions and a misogynistic society. We have grown up thinking that this was the norm and been a blind eye to it. Being ‘woke’ today, we fight our past to build a better future, and celebrate the Women’s Day in honour of our journey.”

Chaaya Prabhat and Sandhya Prabhat, sisters from Chennai, believe in bringing out the ‘extra-ordinariness of the ordinary Indian woman.’ They say, “It aims to portray power, creativity and free expression, and hearty female friendships in the Indian context.”

For Parvati Pillai, from Kerala, “being a woman is about camaraderie, courage, determination and inner beauty. My stickers focus on independence, sisterhood and love which are an important part of being an Indian woman in the current time. This Women’s Day, I hope my stickers inspire women to continue to overcome bigotry and live their lives to their fullest. My art is a tribute to the women who inspire me to be stronger and better everyday.”

Jyotirmayee Patra, from Odisha, says, “I create art related to life and wellness. I practice and promote self-love and self-empowerment through my work. The stickers are a combination of bold and organic lettering, especially the warm tones like reds and yellows which are some of the significant colours in the Indian festivals. The type and illustrations are inspired by Indian matchbox and packaging graphics. Some of the slogans/ phrases are in Hinglish which is the millennial lingo.”

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