January 2014
#Skin , 470 Views
Dark and Lovely

Photographs By: V Sunil

A photo series that looks at the colour complex in India.

Racism runs deep in India’s history, its roots intertwined with colonialism and caste. But while the colonisers have left the building, their legacy continues to find expression in a prejudice that manifests in everything from relationship prospects to hiring practices.

Yes, colour and class are still the great divides in Indian culture, and just as old as the desire for a fair, unblemished skin are the accompanying insecurities for those not blessed with their desired hue. Part-art project and part-call to arms, dark & lovely addresses this colour complex through a series of portraits that form a springboard for an ongoing, unfolding art project.

The women in this project are talented, intelligent, gorgeous and accomplished, propelled to prominence in disciplines as diverse as filmmaking, spaceship design and photography, all resisting the rigid racial stratification and beauty myths that might once have limited them.

While the project will continue to take shape in the coming months, via an online repository of images and interviews, it will culminate in a rich media exhibition later this year that expands this roster. The notion of a “black list” might suggest a negative association, but in dark & lovely this list is a chronicle of achievement, and evidence that we’re not just the product of our traditions.