Most of India lives two lives. One is the character that fits our respective roles in society, and the other one is the real us that only comes out behind closed doors, for better or worse. Ideal takes precedence over authenticity in our culture which also infects family systems that are considered the cornerstone of society in India and are always under the pressure of maintaining the appearance of a harmonious unit.
Mumbai-based visual artist & illustrator, Mira Felicia Malhotra AKA Kohla highlights this dichotomy by addressing common family dynamics in modern Indian society in her latest series of family portraits created from observations of the nuclear family structure
"To project an ideal of perfection, normalcy, or even passivity, families often aggressively reject individuality, hide dysfunction, or both. The static physical canvases mislead, masking the conflicts underneath. Through the use of augmented reality (AR), the animated videos revealed, make evident far more complex and familiar situations, especially with regards to the problematic ideas of rigid gender roles", Mira shares.
"My work as Kohla is most often a negotiation with my inner self, a struggle between who I want to be and who I am. I have always gravitated towards drawing Brown women, whom I give permission to live out my fantasies or make appear how I wish to be seen. Using surrealism, humour, intense colours and evocative character design, I tackle feminist ideas in accessible, engaging and joyful ways. In treatment, I tread far from realism, sometimes even making use of novelty, packaged so that it can seamlessly deliver unpalatable truths. This is a skill I stole from my commercial work as a graphic designer/illustrator, selling to unsuspecting consumers, using a slick, eye-catching, pop, visual style", shares Mira.
'Log Kya Kahenge' is a dark tale of abuse, transphobia, broken dreams and family pressures that are concealed under the guise of a happy family in a culture that is slowly eating away the individuals that wish to be bigger than the box they are stuffed into.
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