Every year we celebrate Navratri or Durga Puja worshipping the nine forms of the goddess. It is also a time to worship and glorify female power. However many a time we fail to show respect towards women. That needs to change. We must aim to protect our women and give them equal rights and the respect they deserve. In an effort to spread awareness about women’s rights and empowerment, and glorify womanhood, Kolkata-based photographers and makeup artists have created their own photo series. The essence is that ordinary women too can unleash their power and strike back when the need arises. Here’s a glimpse:
1) Chokkhu Daan, which means ‘offering the eyes’ to Durga idol, has a special religious significance. On Mahalaya (which was on September 19 this year), artisans paint the beautiful eyes of the goddess in the wee hours. In his photograph, Roy has shown an artist painting the eyes of a woman while holding a diya in his hand. “Whether it is Durga, Uma or Parvati or any ordinary girl — all women should be treated liked a goddess. Gender discrimination and crimes against women are on the rise, which is why there is darkness in their life. Through my shoot I have attempted to show that it is time to empower and light up her life. The diya signifies hope and light,” says Roy.
2) Visual artist Dinda collaborated with makeup artist Subham Chakraborty to create a unique and surreal photo of the devi. “Our message is simple — peace is in your soul, you just have to discover it,” says Dinda.
3) Sardar has come up with a photo series titled ‘Dugga’ in which she has portrayed Goddess Durga as an ordinary woman. “We call her ‘Dugga’ in Bengal. During Durga Puja we welcome the goddess, along with her children, to her parental home. We celebrate her homecoming just like we celebrate every woman’s homecoming after marriage. The attempt is to show that Durga resides in every living being, she is prakriti (nature).”
4) In the photoseries ‘Devi’ by makeup artist, body painter and stylist Mondal, shutterbug Bid and Maa Durga) portray the goddess in a different light again. Goddess Durga is neither wearing the usual laal-par saree (white saree with red border) nor does she have the astras (weapons). She’s a woman of the recent times. “Our aim has been to show how Durga would look in these times— wearing a modern blouse, covering her body with one single piece of red cloth worn over a white ensemble. Her head gear — part of Odissi dance costume — shows that she is modern, elegant, and full of grace and yet connected to her roots, culture and tradition. While she holds a half-bloomed lotus (symbolising peace) in her hand, she sports a trishul (a symbol of destruction) nosepin. She can be peaceful, kind-hearted but when the need arises she can wreak havoc to restore peace,” says Mondal.