Art

Androgynous Heroines

Here is one of Sarah Kaushik’s wonderful zine-esque digital art which indulges in themes such as androgyny and non conformity to portray the fluid aspects of gender. Here, she talks about her creative process, technique, and why she choose this particular idea to illustrate.

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Studying design in India and pursuing the multidimensionality of the discipline gave me a lot of exposure to not only design but helped sensitize myself to observe the heritage, culture, the stereotypes, socio-political aspects of the country and the community. I eventually began constantly questioning my own beliefs of the past and contradicting them to be able to understand them better.

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My current practice, as a Scenographer, allows me to constantly indulge in narratives and storytelling, the basis to every thematic exercise. Recently I began working with digital collages, applying the same knowledge of building narratives, only in a two-dimensional space creating provocative juxtapositions to explore the concepts of Feminism, power, the country and the mysterious in single, yet powerful frames.

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I extensively use vintage imagery from India and beyond to create scenarios of the current times. These unexpected compositions address the boundaries between various social, political and cultural stigmas concerning our society, eventually hoping to achieve a tolerance for this complexity and diversity. Vintage finds are like chancing upon a rare gem in a forest – beautiful and priceless, holding stories within themselves, frozen in time and space. The color tones of vintage images and the slight blurriness and grains add a lot of texture and depth to an otherwise two- dimensional graphic. The characters in my work take on lives of their own and I follow them, chancing upon varied topographies allowing wealth of diversity of meanings.

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This series talks about the stress that is given to ‘gender’ as a term in our lives. Our identity lies first in our gender and then social and cultural decisions take place accordingly. The Big Eyed Collagist is not just a mere stage name for me, it is an indeterminable identity to contradict the gender biased society, almost a rebellion. My figures are dressed androgynously to transcend any gender expectations and stigmas attached to a specific gender. My idea is to bridge the distinction between a man and a woman, through the way we dress/look, as a satirical, pun- intended idea of portraying the very sad, abusive state of women, specially in my country. Ultimately, these compositions are to stir, evoke, provoke, to set on fire, to catch fire and to question the issues, order and disorder, politics and patriarchy and mull over them, awakening the society and our individual selves.

By Sarah Kaushik.

About Sarah:
Sarah delved into the world of design through her graduation study in Product design. Her approach to designing a product was with a sense of proportion and of purpose, implying an ability to visualize and foresee the grace or the lack of it with which the product will yield itself. Although over a period of time she began to realize that the learning of an object formed with an idea needed to unfold its potential into a field of experience and into a much greater imagination. It had to transform into a narrative, it had to be staged for the recipient to perceive it. This curiosity led Sarah to embark on a journey towards understanding Scenography as a language.

Sarah began her professional journey in September 2010 with a Scenographer in India working at a scale that intrigued her. She has been working in the field of Scenography and Exhibition Design since then. Studying design in India and pursuing the multidimensionality of the discipline gave her a lot of exposure and helped sensitize her to observe the heritage, culture, the stereotypes, socio-political aspects of the country and the community. She eventually began constantly questioning her beliefs of the past and contradicting them to be able to understand them better.

Sarah’s current practice as a Scenographer allows her to constantly indulge in narratives and storytelling, the basis to every thematic exercise. Recently she began working with digital collages, applying the same knowledge of building narratives, only in a two-dimensional space creating provocative juxtapositions to explore the concepts of Feminism, power, the country and the mysterious in single, yet powerful frames.

She extensively uses vintage imagery from India and beyond to create scenarios of the current times. These unexpected compositions address the boundaries between various social, political and cultural stigmas concerning our society, eventually hoping to achieve a tolerance for this complexity and diversity. She describes vintage finds ‘like chancing upon a rare gem in a forest – beautiful and priceless, holding stories within themselves, frozen in time and space’. The color tones of vintage images and the slight blurriness and grains add a lot of texture and depth to an otherwise two- dimensional graphic. The characters in her work take on lives of their own and she follows them, chancing upon varied topographies, allowing a wealth of diversity of meanings.

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