How ‘The Birth Of Parvati’ Creates Space For South Asian Femininity In Art

How ‘The Birth Of Parvati’ Creates Space For South Asian Femininity In Art
Image Courtesy: Tanya Gupta

We are all well-acquainted with the most iconic paintings created by western artists from a very young age. Like advertising these images have a lasting imprint on our minds which we use to create perceptions about the world around us. The canvas is a mode of communicating unique ideas, forming a personal language between the creator and viewer. 

As very few people are aware of South Asian artists, these images present a limited view vastly different from the diverse population. One of such memorable paintings is ‘The Birth Of Venus’ showcasing the goddess of love and beauty arriving on land. Born from seafoam in adult form, the roman goddess painted by Sandro Botticelli takes on a naked state complemented with long blonde hair.

Re-contextualising this painting through a new perspective, artist Tanya Gupta utilises surreal photo manipulation with the Hindu goddess of love, Parvati at the centre; juxtaposing indigenous sensibilities and ideas of womanhood while breaking away from Eurocentric standards of beauty. Tanya’s mission is to reimagine famous paintings as a South Asian woman and to paint a vibrant celebration of femininity.

“As far as this particular artwork goes, I art directed, styled, modelled, photographed, and edited the entire piece myself. The idea was to create a reimagining of Botticelli's "The Birth of Venus", but instead of featuring the Roman goddess of love, Venus, at the centre; I included a rendition of the Hindu goddess of love, Parvati.”

Tanya Gupta

The artist has explored varied fields with her intersecting identity, being a former NASA aerospace engineer, she worked on a prototype Martian aircraft which now sits at the Smithsonian. She also owns a software patent with Kennedy Space Centre and since 2020 has transitioned fields to style, photograph and edit 100+ portrait editorials including social media campaigns for Tom Ford Beauty, Lancôme, Aerie, and Claire’s. 

Her ranging experience across fine art, rocket science, artificial intelligence and art have all influenced her strong image making skills. As her GIFS have been downloaded over 96 million times and in 2021, Tanya became the first Indian American to be selected for the Adobe Creative Residency. The creation ‘Birth Of Parvati’ speaks to her multi-layered identity that creates space for South Asian femininity while traversing through unique influences. 

Find them here.

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