With the rise of social media as a platform for artists to showcase their work, South Asian artists are using it more to spread awareness about their distinctive creations.
South Asian art includes work from countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and many other places. Despite their historical and political differences, these countries continue to share common cultures.
The art characteristics of Indian art vary between the different geographical and cultural regions. Artist Jayna Gandhi, 19, uses Instagram as a platform to showcase her own representation of South Asian art.
“I was on social media a lot more at the start of Covid and I was seeing a lot of white representation in the arts space as usual. But more Black representation as well, which made me really happy for my fellow people of colour but, there was still a huge lack of South Asian representation in the western arts. I just feel like it was my time to contribute to Brown representation in the visual arts space,” Gandhi said.
Gandhi started her Instagram account @madebyjayna at the beginning of 2020. She says that as an Indian woman, it makes her happy and excited to finally create that space for other Indian women too.
“I know that it makes me so happy when I see any Indian or any South Asian people on my feed and I hope that my art does the same thing for young Indian girls who are just getting on Instagram and they don’t see themselves,” she said.
For many Indian women, corse and thick body hair is natural. Gandhi explains that she always makes sure to include it in her pieces because it represents who Indian women are and how they no longer should fall into societal pressures of having it removed.
Gandhi’s favourite piece is titled Lakshmi and it is a digital print of the side profile of an Indian woman.
A major component in Gandhi’s pieces is hair and she makes sure to include it in every piece. She’s curated her own custom colour palette and it consists of rich oranges, yellows, greens and dark purples. This is also the spectrum of traditional Indian colours.
Another artist using Instagram to showcase their own representation of South Asian art is @müi_arthouse, who creates life-like paintings of South Asian individuals and people of colour.
They use intricate brush strokes to create detail to bring each piece of art to life. Like Gandhi, they are also South Asian and this type of art comes naturally.
Art can be interpreted in many different ways and it can be hard to say what is accurately represented and what is not. For them, they don’t put much thought into how they are understood by others.
“Whether accurately or not, I believe at least for me, I work to convey a thought into the canvas and just like how a thought can be interpreted in many ways, I pray that my art is also depicted and understood in many ways. I think there’s power in that,” they said.