"I am 19-years-old. I am currently in my second year of Bachelor of Mass Media at St. Xavier's College, Mumbai."
What do you infer from this that she is a little girl, pretty immature, rushing in between the thoughts of impressing a guy, right? But this artist, freelance illustrator and poet I am about to introduce here is not just any 19-year-old girl, but a lady who looks forward in time.
Since our childhood, we all have indulged in drawing as it was a part of our curriculum, "but I never took it seriously until my eleventh standard when I realised that everyone around me has something to say," shares Priyanka Paul, who is using her Instagram profile to voice out that being a woman, she can do whatever she wants to.
There's this line in Harry Potter series by Dumbledore, "Fear of a name increases the fear of the thing itself."
In the context of how did she come across her Instagram profile name, 'artwhoring', she said, "Whore stands for a sex worker. Firstly I have a problem with using a derogatory word for a sex worker. Because why is it derogatory, it is not! The word whore is unconventionally used for women who do what they want to do like if they wear small clothes or go out at night, they are wrong. Such women, they are bold, and they are fearless, society is scared of them, and that is why they call them this thing."
"My mother is a staunch feminist. I am the way I am because of how she has brought me up and taught me to stand for myself and voice out things that are not right in the society. She is very opinionated and strong. She has stood up for me many times because as a woman I can do whatever I want to."
"There is a historical context where women have not been considered of an equal status, and we are trying to break that down."
Priyanka believes that this whole drama of 'why to call it feminism, why not just call it equality,' ultimately shows the perspective of people towards the narrative.
Priyanka came into the limelight with her Goddesses series. The series is based on a poem by her friend and poet Harnidh Kaur. The poem creates a hypothetical situation where Goddesses are portrayed as 21st-century women. Priyanka's series went viral on the Internet and that's when she decided to explore more.
"I am really interested in talking a lot about caste. Because that's a hush-hush topic that we do not like to speak about and we try to push it under the carpet. But it's still in progress."
"People are always going to say something. I have received a lot of hate, and that is something you get used to. Even during the Goddesses series, because it had the Goddesses in it, I received a lot of threatening messages, I had derogatory messages. My work got shared on big pages whose demographic was full of people who don't even think before they comment. There were hateful comments on them. But this is just something that you learn to block because your art is important to you and to the people who are affected by it, and you just gotta do what you have to do."
"Everything I say, everything I do, I tend to take inspiration from everything. I would definitely say that my mother is my greatest inspiration, she is the most inspiring woman I have known."
Priyanka started a series of t-shirts called the Stigma t-shirts. The first batch of t-shirts spoke about the issue of Transgender Bill 2016. It says, "Tumhare pass maa hai? Hamare pass Stig-ma hai."
With her Stigma series, she raised a question, "Who gives who the right to judge whose 'trans-ness' is trans-enough. Which God, which constitution, which government and who you?"
Priyanka has always been a vocal person, and it is what plays out in her art. In the end, all she wants to convey is, "You don't always have to be right or wrong; it is essential that you continue to keep learning. One must not give up in what he/she believes in."
Artistry by: Priyanka Paul.
That's all, readers. I hope you liked the story.
If you have an inspiring story to share, do write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.