Naked Truth: 4 young artists on their experiments with nudity
Art and nudity have always been inseparable. That doesn't mean the artist has always found it easy to pursue an open exploration of the body, especially in middle-class India where the body has been all function, not form.
For those of us who have the luxury of consuming art in 2015, though, there's a new paradigm emerging. It's not there yet, but you could call it our post-prudish phase, where art is allowed to, mostly, break free from the shackles the rest of our society is still bound by.
The artists in this audio piece are all young, and are creating a new language of nudity. They come from backgrounds where conversations about nudity were the exception, not the norm. Yet, they're pushing back at those boundaries, exploring the body in their own distinct ways - committed to not just showing their work in fine galleries patronised by a select few but in the real world, on social media and through digital platforms, to make nudity a conversation among those most reluctant to have it.
Fresh out of art school, Sohil Bhatia, 23, is known as 'Tsohil', the T silent. What refuses to be silenced is his fascination with the body, which he documents through a series of naked self-portraits, using obscure props and rule-bending compositions to push the boundaries. His work doesnt go on collectors walls but on Facebook, where he has a strong following.
An illustrator, 21-year-old Jayesh Joshi set up a Facebook page two years ago called 'The Jayman Artworks' and initially restricted himself to uploads of his work. Soon, though, interest grew and he started taking requests (drawmejayman) for body studies. He hasn't been able to ask anyone but a male housemate to actually pose for him naked, but is committed to exploring the nude form.
Pratyush Pushkar, 28 has worked as a journalist and a wildlife photographer, as can be seen in hisbody of work on Flickr. He writes poetry and teaches at the Delhi Art Foundation which he founded. He has built a rapport with each of his subjects (all friends rather than professional models) before he photographed them in the nude. He hopes, next, to travel to Europe and shoot a series of nude portraits in outdoor locations.
29-year old Jelena Savkovic has posed for Pratyush; she happened to be in India teaching and travelling when she met the photographer and became first a friend, then his model. Highly influenced by Dadaism and a student of philosophy from Belgrade in Serbia, Jelena finds it amusing that the Indian mythical practices derived from religion have lived on while mythical imagery is being forcibly dissolved.