Conversations around diversity are opening up more possibilities for creatives in different industries to explore their South Asian roots. Young people are now able to extend their layered identities into creative expressions by incorporating a multitude of influences. Similarly in the beauty industry, young South Asian artists are now reimagining beauty trends that often stick rigidly to euro-centric beauty standards.
Inspired by the rich heritage and pop culture of the subcontinent, their looks often combine indigenous beauty with western influences. Additionally, these creations are now claiming space by being loud and colourful instead of conforming to a limiting beauty standard. Here are five creatives exploring intersecting narratives around beauty and identity.
An Australian-born Indian creator, Rowi Singh uses makeup and style as a vehicle for self expression. Her looks are an amalgamation of distinctive inspirations taken from South Asian aesthetics and heritage, presenting a fusion of colour, culture and innovative concepts. Very often Rowi finds a way to connect art to her Punjabi roots by visually embracing aspects of her culture through adornments. The artist often utilises ethnic signifiers such as bindis and jewels to explore unique subcultures from India as well.
A fashion stylist, portrait lover and makeup artist based in India, Diya Basu is a young creative who regularly explores colours that are both outrageous and meaningful. The skilled artist incorporates the multi-layered language of South Asian aesthetics by playing with different archetypes and tropes found in the culture. The rebellious embrace of experimental style is what forms the visual story of her imagery, carving out a niche for avant-garde South Asian beauty.
A professional photographer, Roshini utilises makeup and beauty to explore her intersecting identities. By combining a wide array of inspirations her visual artworks translate South Asian aesthetics from a unique standpoint. The artist often integrates trending looks with eastern influences, such as ‘Barbiecore’ with ethnic makeup and jewellery. Furthermore, her radical gaze places importance on the beauty of our flaws by promoting an unabashed approach to claiming insecurities.
Passionate for experimental beauty, Subiksha Shivakumar, a model and makeup artist often blends ethnic influences with modern looks. Her desi takes are bold and edgy that derive inspiration from South Asian heritage. Subiksha believes in non-conformity and all of her looks are a testament to the same. She also claims that her make-up looks are usually never planned and are created spontaneously following what she is feeling at the moment; showcasing an unabashed display of aesthetic improvization.
An Indian-American creative artist, Hamel Patel, initially rose to fame by recreating Disney princesses in traditional attire and makeup. There is evidently a lack of representation for South Asian women and through her looks, Hamel offers a reminder that anyone can be a Disney princess. The creative has taken this tradition forward by recreating different pop culture icons such as Barbie as well as certain subcultures such as vintage core with an ethnic gaze. Her looks are heavily inspired by Indian beauty and her work juxtaposes trends with indigenous influences.
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