You and I. Togetherness. Solidarity. Resistance.
As an Indian girl born and brought up in the United Arab Emirates, away from my home country, it was always challenging to understand some parts of my culture and the reason why some things were happening in my country. One of the many social issues in India that affect women and girls all over the country is the Dowry System. The system was previously an institution in which gifts and money were given to a girl at the time of her marriage. But, with time, it became an evil and toxic practice that turned from gifts into demands by the families of grooms. It is considered as a forceful expenditure on the marriage of the girl. Parents of the boy demand a dowry according to what they think the ‘value’ of their son is. In many cases where the bride's family is unable to pay dowry, there are cases of crimes against these women such as emotional abuse, injuries, and even deaths. Some more gruesome than others, including female infanticide, suicide, and bride-burning. Even though it is now legally a crime, it still prevails in many parts of the country and remains one of the largest obstacles for the country and culture to overcome. This series of digital paintings highlights this issue by communicating the effects of the dowry system and how women (and families) today stand together to try and eradicate this evil practice.
"Solidarity or Pretence?" asks a question, as in the title; when we protest or stand against social issues that directly affect us, but we do not stand against issues that affect others, are we pretending? When there is a huge incident, we protest, we stand together and fight, but then we go home and forget about it after a few months even though nothing has changed - is that pretending too?
"Harmony" talks about solidarity and how women have come together to oppose the issue, through more education, support from families, and so on.
The bride in "Worth" represents how women today stand up for themselves and love and value themselves instead of their future husbands.