"Peach pits are poisonous. This is not a mistake. Girlhood is growing fruit around cyanide. It will never be yours for the swallowing."
- Brenna Twohy
Womanhood, with its interwoven beauty and sorrow, is a path marked by vibrancy, passion, and the unquenchable desire for self-discovery, yet it can also be marred by societal pressures that demand self-sacrifice and conformity and self-diminishment. The tension between the urge to become one's authentic self and the world's often limiting expectations while trying not to explode is a central narrative of womanhood. In this intricate fabric of being, 'WAJOOD- E- ZAN / EXISTENCE OF WOMEN,' the evocative photo series by Simrah Farrukh, celebrates these multifaceted aspects, capturing the essence of womanhood in all its vivid and challenging dimensions.
The term 'Wajood-e-Zan', translating to 'existence of women', is an exploration of the all-encompassing experience of living outside the constraints imposed by society, transcending gender boundaries. For Farrukh, this project is about rewriting what it means to exist as "women" by going beyond the gender binary, emphasizing the broader experience of existing as individuals free from restrictions and in acceptance of femininity.
It encapsulates the multifaceted facets of womanhood, from finding sisterhood and community to embodying androgyny, daintiness, and fierceness. The 'WAJOOD- E- ZAN / EXISTENCE OF WOMEN' series beautifully captures the growing pains and the unequivocal presence of beauty. It showcases the amalgamation of juxtapositions into unity, reflecting the hand-stitched experience of inside jokes, gossip, drama, and giggles. These photographs are a celebration of the existence of women in all shapes and forms.
Farrukh's upbringing in a Muslim-Pakistani household significantly influences her work. She seamlessly weaves her cultural roots and family's inspiration into her photographs. The result is a body of work that not only captures the essence of femininity but also evokes a sense of grace, intimacy, and elegance. In her exploration of female figures and the concept of womanhood, Farrukh draws inspiration from the women she grew up with in her family and community. She also delves into the work of artists like Amrita Sher-Gil, a pioneering South Asian artist whose depictions of women have left a lasting impact.
In the current landscape, the concept of womanhood is often reduced to a biological definition, detached from the intricate relationships it shares with femininity. This oversimplified view leaves behind the tangled web of motherhood and identity, drawing debates around what it truly means to be a woman. Simrah Farrukh's 'WAJOOD- E- ZAN / EXISTENCE OF WOMEN' series subverts these narratives, weaving the vibrant threads of femininity and sisterhood into the larger tapestry of womanhood. Through her lens, she challenges the binary and transcends the limits, offering a nuanced portrayal of existence that celebrates the beauty and power of womanhood.
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