The feminist and the artist: Nimisha Bhanot

Art of Neerja Bhanot

She completely demystified the modern South Asian woman through her series of paintings… paintings that are detailed and non-conforming at the same time.  Meet Indo-Canadian artist Nimisha Bhanot, who still has a strong connection with her origins.  “We have one of the most multicultural cities in the world so when I’m here I don’t feel far from my roots,” says Nimisha about living far from her Indian roots in an interview with SheThePeople. She is in conversation with Poorvi Gupta.

Her series includes brides, women doing housework, working as policewomen, but all with a twist- smoking cigarettes and with tattoos on their bodies. Intriguing ideas…which made us want to know more about her. Read on.

Nimisha Bhanot- The Artist

I’m Indo-Canadian, and I struggled with identity for a really long time. I decided in 2012 that I wanted to start creating work which explores the societal perception of South Asian women from a bicultural perspective. My work seeks to mimic the process of accepting and rejecting, which many individuals of the South Asian diaspora and more broadly, all first and second-generation individuals experience when shaping their unique identity.

Nimisha Bhanot

Ironing Out Wrinkles In Your Perception (Credits- Banga Studios)

Her inspiration

I’m inspired by the little things the women in my life do everyday to live life on their own terms and the unfortunate fact that a lot of it is swept under the rug due to fear of being socially ostracized. South Asian women and more broadly, people from all groups, experience some sort of pressure to fit into cultural expectations that are very gender specific. I like painting these individuals in a different light than what society wants them to be perceived as.

Nimisha Bhanot

Badass Indian Cop (Credits- Banga Studios)

The women in the paintings exist out there

  I think there are South Asian women all over the world that are currently living the life of the women in my paintings and many that have been for years. It’s about time we materialized these stories into tangible things instead of sweeping it all under the rug.

Nimisha Bhanot

Badass Indo-Chinese Bride (Credits- Banga Studios)

On Patriarchy

  I think that patriarchal views are heavily embedded in South Asian culture and tradition and that it’s been this way for a very long time. This is changing, slowly but surely, and I am 100% confident that we are moving in the right direction. The Internet and social media are most definitely helping an exchange of ideas in our community and I think that the more people we have sharing their experiences with the world, the faster the change will be.

I think there are women around the world living the lives portrayed in my paintings

Nimisha Bhanot

Money, Kitty Parties & Clothes Is All A Bahu Knows (Credits- Banga Studios)

On feminism

 I would say that my idea of feminism is to live as you are and let others live the same. Feminism isn’t just limited to women but also to men and non-binary individuals; it’s about putting everyone on an equal playing field and giving everyone the same opportunity to live authentic lives.

I would say that my idea of feminism is to live as you are and let others live the same.

Nimisha Bhanot

Sweeping Patriarchy Under The Rug (Credits- Banga Studios)

On future plans

I’d like to continue making art and have plans to go to graduate school to do a MFA *fingers crossed*. I’d like to teach at the university level and feel that furthering my education will strongly benefit what I have planned. I have a new series coming up which I will start painting this April 2016. This series seeks to explore how social media and small communities on the Internet influence the South Asian diaspora. This series will be exploring racial, sexual and gender identity. Stay tuned!