“All the goddesses in the series are hailed to be epitomes of feminine divinity, which is why it was perfect to imagine them as epitomes of feminist power.”
Priyanka Paul is a 17-year-old media student, artist and poet from Mumbai, India, portraying feminism and crushing gender taboos with her pop-art illustrations. Priyanka spoke to the IPF about her ‘Goddesses’ series and the inspiration behind her work.
By showing goddesses like Greek Hera and Egyptian Isis as powerful modern women who can be found daily around the world, the series addresses how female sexuality is seen as taboo across cultures and that it is not innate to uniquely one place.
“The series simply celebrated bold, uncensored and unabashed women.”
“All the goddesses in the series are hailed to be epitomes of feminine divinity, which is why it was perfect to imagine them as epitomes of feminist power,” she explained.
Having drawn since she was child, Priyanka was highly influenced when she started studying sociology and political science in 11th and 12th grade. She then started expressing her views with her art.
“I’m inspired by almost everything, from everyday minuscule adventures to political issues to pop-culture. I’d describe my art as pop art with a message or just an outlet or strong expression of who I am,” she said.
Priyanka considers herself as a feminist, which is highly visible in her work. She explained how deeply rooted gender inequality and misogyny is as women still have to fight for their rights.
“My art hopes to bring about awareness and point out all the wrongs in society, which we may not even find questionable because we rarely ever question the patriarchy.”
She continued: “Feminism to me is extending the boundaries of the social construct of gender and being aware of the liquidity of gender. It’s about the fight for equality, questioning the oppression of one gender for centuries, and it’s about choices, the ability to make choices- without constant censorship, without tampering a woman’s self-authority.”
Thanks to Instagram, Priyanka has been able display her art and poetry, and as a result gained a large number of followers. Social media has been essential platform for bringing together artists and like-minded individuals. With that, Priyanka has notices a lot of positive outcomes.
“I love the way people around the world actively use social media as a tool of activism to challenge stereotypes, love themselves and teach so much to a world that’s limited itself to what mainstream media has to offer,” Priyanka explained.
“There’s so much more body acceptance. There are now plus size models. Freckles are trending. There’s so much more disability awareness. We talk about mental illness. There’s positivity for body hair, facial hair, acne- things that are so natural, but we’ve been told to cover them up and be ashamed of.”
Priyanka often collaborates with other artists and is currently working on a project that will centre around period taboo in India.
“I love mixing visual media with an art form as beautiful as poetry. Both complement each other perfectly. I just think I express myself better through these two art forms.”
To see more of Priyanka’s illustrations and random doodles, as well as her poetry, check out her Instagram profile.