JJ School of Art alumnus, Kanika Gupta went to School of Visual Arts in New York in 2014 when she was looking to turn her art into a tool for therapy. A chance discussion with her professor—who suggested adult colouring books—had her realise that it was the perfect invitation for her audience to participate in her art. "I draw, they colour," says Gupta, who by then already running iktaara, a curated products platform.
Obsessed with Calvin and Hobbes, Gupta has also been a nature lover. "Nature heals me. Interestingly, some lesser known facts fascinated me. For instance, how Swans could separate milk from water. This was my opportunity to draw these out and make an adult colouring book with messages that nature has for us—a therapeutic pack," explains Gupta, who began the movement of adult colouring and doodling workshops as a Sunday morning activity at Cubbon Park, Bangalore. But it's her black and white dinner plates under a collection called Circus in the Universe that we love. "You'll see fantasy beings doing jumps, juggling the planets and performing fun acrobatics. It is for those who wish to keep their inner child alive."
Gupta's drawings have an innocence that take you to an imaginary, whimsical world. On her choice of using black and white, she says, "My pen is my strongest tool. I love the yin and yang. It sort of completes it all with just two contrast shades."
Price: Books Rs 341 onwards, plates, Rs 1,500 per piece; gifts Rs 120 onwards
Available on: www.iktaara.com
Nasrin Modak SiddiqiNever have I ever
Shyam Kishore. Pic/Satej Shinde
Shyam Kishore, an alumnus of National School of Drama, has worked extensively in theatre and film, but nothing has come close to what he is about to start. His upcoming indie film, Moustache, revolves around a heterosexual couple's fetish for a fake mucchi. Set in a hotel, the story is about a young couple in an open relationship, frustrated with each other but continuing to live in. The story dwells on sexual consent, coercion and kinks. "I think it's important that Indians discuss issues of sexuality without restraint, and this is my attempt to fuel the conversation," he says. Well aware that finding producers to back a project such as this won't be easy, he has decided to crowdfund.
Log on to Ketto to help fund his projectBamboo for frizzy locks
For someone who is into wooden combs and brushes—we've been told that wood naturally conditions the hair and controls static—we were obviously curious about the new set of detanglers and paddles launched by Mandy Kinn, global ambassador of Olivia Garden, at Jean-Claude Biguine, Mumbai.
Both the paddle and detangler, which claim to come with ion-charged bristles, are made of eco-friendly bamboo a natural resource unlike wood. Since we have wavy hair, we tried the paddle, instead of the detangler. It was light to hold with a strong grip, although it looked bulky. The problem with our hair is that it requires regular combing and is frizzy. After using the paddle, the hair seemed to stay in place and felt hydrated. Another Olivia Garden detangler (not part of the eco collection) for fine and medium hair, worked well on wet hair, and left us feeling like we had blow-dried it. My colleague, who avoids using a brush on her thick, curly and otherwise, unmanageable locks, tried the dentangler. It seemed to worm well through the knots but flattened the curls out a bit. She followed it up with the paddle, which made her hair less frizzy. For a day, when she'd like to wear her hair down, this hairstyle, she says, would have been perfect.
At: JCB outlets
The earlier way of swapping clothes was called sisters; today, there's an app for that. Launched by Nancy Bhasin, a former marketer, after "an existential crisis, a longish TEDx talk and a bit of serendipity," This For That is a fashion-swapping platform for women, a good cousin of shopping. "Women can use the platform to exchange clothes, shoes, bags, accessories and cosmetics from their closets that they don't use much, for things they like from someone else's closet, without any money changing hands." The end goal is, "Women get so comfortable that they begin replacing their day-to-day shopping needs with swapping."
This For That on Google PlayCurious case of Krishna
A chance meeting with members of the Gay and Lesbian Vaishnava Association (GALVA) in West Bengal in 2012 introduced Holly Walters to the complexities of gender and religion in South Asia. " GALVA was organising an online platform to protest criminalisation of homosexuality. What I encountered was truly unexpected; a re-imagining of Krishna, one of the most beloved deities, as the icon and patron of LGBTQ rights in India," says Walters, cultural anthropologist at Brandeis University, She researched Vaishnava communities and how various Hindu communities understand and interact with Krishna. In a recent blog post about Krishna's fluid masculinity, Walters writes: "Krishna is one of the most beloved deities of Hindu India. He appears as the mischievous divine lover (Radha-Krishna) in North India, while being a patron of art, music, and poetry (Vithobha Krishna) in Maharashtra in central India. He is associated with Dvaita philosophy and monastic traditions (Udupi Krishna) in Karnataka and Guruvayur in Kerala." She says this latest research was conducted through a variety of methods, including in-person, via letter or other correspondence, and online.
wellesley.academia.edu/HollyWaltersNo gay men in Tihar jail?
It isn't just ancient texts and the decals of Khajuraho that are filled with LGBTQ references. From Mughal miniature paintings to Amrita Sher-Gil's love letters to Satyajit Ray's films, India's history has embraced all. And, this is what the @lgbthistoryindia page on Instagram is trying to popularise, along with other bits and bobs. Like the group photograph of nine intersex members from 1880, to Kiran Bedi's stance in 1994 that homosexuality was "negligible" in Tihar Jail, to Mala Nagarajan and Vega Subramaniam's wedding in 2002, the first documented Hindu lesbian wedding. The admin, who wishes to remain anonymous, says, "I am trying to give some mythological history, where every kind of sex positivity is mentioned, with embellishment. Recently, I have opened one new column, in which I am encouraging people to send their stories on 'growing up queer in 1980-1990s India'. The responses are moderate. Most of them are still scared to send their stories, so they are sending it anonymously."
Curated by Anju Maskeri, Ekta Mohta, Jane Borges and Prutha Bhosle
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