“We seldom have women portraying womanhood in our arts - be it literature, photography or art. Either the stories are told from a male perspective or men play the central role in the stories. I am trying to bring more works that are on women from a female perspective through my work.
Tattoos are a means for women to express their identity. While some are traditional tattoos that represent their ancestry or tribe, some are testaments to how they break out of the moulds they were attempted to fit into,” says Sanjukta.
One of her subjects for the series from Kolkata, Parama Ghosh, is a real estate lawyer and textile artist. Sanjukta describes that Parama’s two tattoos reflect integral parts of her Bengali identity and her love for Tagore.
She writes, “First (tattoo) is the seal of Tagore’s Vishwa Bharati University on her shoulder blade - designed by Tagore’s son signifying his initials in Bengali, র and ঠ... Her second tattoo is on the arm which is an image of Victoria Memorial, Kolkata, with a large Angel...She shared how everyone thinks a tattoo is not appropriate for a lawyer, it makes you come across as ‘hippie’ ‘vagabound’ ‘non serious’ and ‘loose’.
There was, in fact, rules against body art in her previous workplace. People assume her in-laws must be very liberal to allow her to work late hours and then have such big visible tattoos… Parama got both her tattoos after her marriage, and no she didn’t need her husband’s or anybody else’s permission. She just needed to be sure that this is what she wanted on her body.”
She has already completed the project’s Kolkata phase and will be shooting in Chennai from July 20 to July 22. Her next shoot is in Bengaluru. “For now, I am focusing on urban women, but I plan to feature women from rural areas and women with body piercings as well. Along with the portraits, I’m also interviewing these women to understand what they do, where they are from and what their beliefs are.
For now, I’m posting these as a Facebook photo-series, but once I’m done with the shoot, I will host an exhibition. I also plan to compile the series into a coffee-table book,” she signs off.