It somehow falls in the fate of every woman to grow up being instructed by the world around her. Instructed, in little sinister ways, to be quieter, smaller, weaker than she is. But the modern woman is in no mood to listen.
Artist Sam Madhu and her stunning pieces of work are the embodiment of that sentiment. In her art, the real, raw goddess, untouched by the conventions of society, is revealed. In her art, the modern woman is everything she wants to be – bold, potent and powerful. In her words,
“I’d describe my art as the experiences of a 21st century Indian woman influenced by global culture, society and politics.”
I came across her art as a part of the Uncover Project, and even I, as a writer, must confess that there are no words that can quite convey the statement she makes with her bold vibrant palette. Take a look.
She sees raw beauty…staring right back at her.
Because at the end of the day, despite everything the world says, what matters most to me, to my soul, is the woman I see in the mirror.
And boy, is she one hell of a badass.
She is fierce, she is wild.
They say the world is a hard, harsh place. A brutal place that makes exceptions for none. Well, you don’t see the women of today shying from any of the challenges, do you?
When the prying eyes aren’t on her, she blooms.
I hope people are impressed, shocked and overjoyed by my art. I want them to relate to it but also be shook.
And indeed, we are! Watching this modern goddess switch between the side of womanhood the world expects and demands of her, and the side of womanhood she truly harbours, is spectacular.
Unshackled, unchained. The world is hers to roam.
The theme of female empowerment is spread all across these brilliant pieces of art. But one of the best things about these goddesses is that they don’t reside in fantasies or lofty spaces – they are the women we know. In Madhu’s own description of her works, she says,
My art is inspired by the everyday things I see and feel around me.
Does she look like she needs your validation?
“I can’t think of any better representation of beauty than someone who is unafraid to be herself .” – Emma Stone
And a woman like that doesn’t need the approval and validation that seem to run the world today.
Anguish consumes her soul sometimes…
I’m a very vibrant, expressive person so I like to show my emotions through the use of color in my art.
And look at this. The psychedelic quality of this work, colourful and yet reflective of the whirlwind of emotions within – it’s truly a piece of work to behold.
…But she moves on to the victories that await her.
Life update Last week was insane. I got my visa renewed and I was offered a full time position as a designer for @adidasoriginals at @the88wastaken. I’m going to stay in New York for a while longer and see where the road takes me. To all my friends in the city – thank you for putting up with me and I’m glad we get to spend more time together. To all my friends back home – I miss you all and I’ll try to visit as much as I can. And to everyone else, I promise I’ll try to constantly make more art. Thank you all so much for your support.
Because no matter how much her choices might be condemned, her worth questioned, and her being belittled, there is always a new victory waiting for her right around the corner.
Goddesses draw inspiration from each other.
Honestly, can it get any more ‘meta’ than this? Because instead of competing, modern women should seek to inspire and get inspired from each other’s stories and works.
The demons Asifa reminded us of.
I feel like religion has always been a huge part of forming Indian culture so this is something I really want to explore in a modern setting. I also feel like women’s bodies and lives have been highly politicized by Indian culture so I want tor reclaim our independence by depicting goddesses.
And she’s right about that. Female bodies have either been claimed as sexualised objects of fantasy or the battlegrounds for religious and political conflicts. Perhaps, never has this statement resounded as strongly as it did with Asifa’s story.
An amalgamation of all that defines her.
Because believe it or not, she is never one single thing. She might be the child of her world and her time, but she is also the result of what she thinks, dreams and aspires for. Try as the world might to fit her in their tiny, outdated boxes, she grows.
The woman she looks up to – herself.
“It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent.” —Madeleine Albright
And thankfully for us, neither is this phenomenal artist.
You can follow Sam’s amazing work on her Instagram.
If you too want your art to be featured in the Uncover Project, click here.