Priyanka Paul: We face violence because people see us as alien
Now, Priyanka Paul has shed her own inhibitions to pose nude for Paper, a New York City-based independent magazine that focuses on popular culture and fashion
Finding feet as poster girl of gender rights through art
Artist Priyanka Paul, who runs the Instagram handle @artwhoring, shot to fame with the Goddesses series, where she offered an alternative to the traditional images by presenting idols as "badass and liberated". The series was based on the poem Pantheon by Harnidh Kaur.
Now, Paul has shed her own inhibitions to pose nude for Paper, a New York City-based independent magazine that focuses on popular culture and fashion. The article spoke to queer people post the Section 377 judgement in India and what this new sense of "freedom" meant. "It was extremely empowering," gushes Paul, who has tackled menstruation, patriarchy and gender fluidity through her art. "I felt fierce, I felt real."
Like many, Paul has had a strained relationship with her body, which was accentuated by her gender identity. "I think it took a long time for me to come to terms with my own sexuality and to accept it as a valid one. The biggest challenge we face is violence and we face this violence because people see us as alien. You don't see us in your books, on television, or as part of conversations. When you don't see us as human to begin with, it's easy to command violence upon us and that needs to change," she says. The photo-shoot, quite naturally, has fetched her plenty of reactions. "Mostly good, some bad. I mean nudity is a touchy topic. A naked woman talking about sexuality is blasphemy. But I got a lot of positive reactions and compliments and that keeps me going."
She is currently working on a zine called BEDx Talks along with fellow designer Rushil Bhatnagar. The zine is a sex-education guide for men. "I'm delving into the histories we've been taught so rigidly over the years, because so many cogs are missing."
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A walk through Mohammed Ali Road's Khau Galli