Instagram is the perfect platform for artists because it doesn’t have overwhelming options that bombard one with information like we see on other social media platforms. It creates the kind of environment artists like - A place curated by the artist with visuals accompanied by short descriptions. Instagram functions 24/7, driving addictions that seem fairly normal, we are consumed with the aesthetic worlds of the *chosen ones* we follow. This is great not just for the artists, but also for the art devourers. Whether you are in Rajkot or Kanyakumari, you have access to the most vibrant artists in India, all you need is an internet connection.
While, we’re all familiar with the household names in art i.e. The Raza’s and the Husain’s, here are seven groundbreaking female artists you need to pay attention to:
Shilo Shiv Suleman, shiloshivsuleman
Is one of the hottest names in the art world right now. This Bangalore-based artist has managed to create a multifaceted presence in the art world at the age of 28. While her work showcases illustration and installations, Shilo also explores the intersection of magical realism, technology and social change. She has made her art as interactive and engaging as possible, with biofeedback technology revealing the interactions between art and the body through large-scale installations that respond to viewers brainwaves and heartbeat along with sculptures that react to human breath. Her brand of activism incorporates collective action, as she initiated a movement: Fearless Public Art Residency that is aimed at community-led art projects that make art to claim safety for women in public spaces with stories and affirmations.
Dayanita Singh, dayanitasingh
Dayanita’s work is true to her visual communications degree, as it showcases the reflections of the human experience in relation to her photographs. Her series of mobile museums allow her images to be endlessly archived, sequenced and edited. A true archivist, her body of work are poetic with endless narrative possibilities. On her Instagram, she also shows her experiences. While she photographs the often mundane her captions are evoke deep ideas are food for thought.
Sarah Naqvi, naqvi_sarah
Audacious, human, visceral with a splatter of pungent reality is how one would describe her art. Her Instagram feed is truly feminist, you can feel it just by glancing at her homepage. You will find sketches and watercolour images of flowers resembling sexual organs and their evolution to cut and hanging parts of the human body in a meat market. There are portraits of women from all over the world, proud in their skin. Her signature piece is of a woman lying in a front angle with her thighs apart, revealing her vagina. This picture has various renditions ranging from revealing blood and the period to gold.
She even has short insta-videos showing how she uses red paint watercolour to demonstrate the flow of blood. Her artwork is fairly versatile as it has surrealist moments as well as pieces reflecting the sociopolitical climate through the clever use of analogies. Her focus on the body and its parts - sexual and functional, speak to the conversations surrounding it.
Roshini Kumar, rosh93
This 22-year-old Bangalore-based photographer is also a cancer survivor. Her passion for positive body image within the fashion photography space is what helped her beat cancer. Roshini's Instagram reveals an evocative collection of colour and bare bodies, she photographs her subjects in their raw states and states “no retouch has been done on any of the images”, thus maintaining their authenticity. She too, like the other artist-activists on this list, demonstrates societal “taboos” in the photographic form. She photographs women nude and interacting with each other's bodies in an attempt to reclaim their right to agency and more importantly the expression of that right. Her photography is provocative. Most definitely a conversation starter.
Princess Pea, princesspeaindia
Her artwork truly lives up to her Instagram bio- ‘Princess Pea India’ presents her alter ego in the form of a living toy, an anime-style figure that can neither talk, smell or hear and breathe in utopian space. Her Instagram showcases little figurines and a signature large anime style head crowned on the heads of Indian women going about mundane activities such as reading, cooking and looking out of the window. Each of these photographs is personalized with captions that are real, candid and progressive. They shed light on the women faceless under the anime head. These women discuss themes of regressive ideas in Indian society such as lack of appreciation for dark skin and stereotypes of what it means to be a “good Indian girl”. Her Instagram is full of colour caught in still moments of unique situations.
Rithika Merchant, rithikamerchant
Bombay-Barcelona based visual artist, Rithika addresses the notions and processes associated with migration and the human experience, she aims to “explore epics and myths across geographies”. Parsons alum, her works investigate the commonalities across cultures, globally. Her work is inspired by nature as she uses non-saturated watercolour and collage elements. Her work even expresses turmoil in the current political climate and the impact of human intervention on nature. She also incorporates text and writing in her paintings. Her work has been celebrated globally, as she even did a collaboration with design house, Chloe.
Pakhi Sen, pakhi.sen
Sen’s work is closer to the unconventional, in contrast to a lot of her contemporaries. She functions in the arena of the imagined and the phantasmagoric realities one experiences. Further, to give her viewers the full experience, she combines multi-media effects while playing with sound, light and shadow. Some of her art is created candidly and offers viewers raw sketches of her minds inner musings. Also, her themes revolve around the world and understanding of materiality, she takes her craft through different mediums and also explores sculpting the human form. Her images challenge the imagination and take viewers out of their comfort zone.
Feature Image Credit: aashish-r-gautam
Akansha Gupta is an intern with SheThePeople.TV