She is only 17 but her art transcends colour, gender stereotypes, and global boundaries, embracing femininity in its natural hues and colours. Priyanka Paul, a Mumbai based artist, perspective on modern day Goddesses is encouraging for a country like ours where like she claims, sex is rarely openly discussed in middle-class families, given little or no importance at school and girls are brought up with values that are rooted in patriarchy.
Paul’s Goddess series is based on Harnidh Kaur’s poem Pantheon that describes the modern day Goddesses from different cultures, who are taking back their sexual freedom and power. For instance her sketch of the Japanese Sun Goddess Amaterasu shows her in a kimono with some of her breasts clearly visible. Priyanka says she wants to tear down the walls built around women’s clothing choices. Boobs according to her are universally offensive even when a mother is shown breastfeeding her child. Her question being “Why are blobs of fat over-sexualized and considered perverse?
The artist sketches down her ideas on to her journal, takes a photo of it and then digitally traces it. Paul believes that beautiful poetry is lost on social media but when it is combined with strong visual art, it has the power to bring change and also reach a wider audience. The change that she wants to see through her art is gender equality. The fact that a woman is not nothing if she is not a daughter, a mother or a wife.
Paul is a self-proclaimed feminist and discusses female infanticide, objectification, rape and crimes that always circle back to a girl child needing protection, shelter and safety all because the men in the society don’t want to stop doing the cruel things that they have been for centuries.