IN MY LATEST conversation artwork for the Miss Shirui Lily poster, it is to my notice that some of our brethren want to understand my work better for several reasons. Usually, I have kept my work as #conversationart so it’s open to opinions and understandings with one’s own narrative. But since this artwork is for the bigger community representing organizations and a state level festival, I have the responsibility to answer and explain what was in my mind when I created this artwork.
The place that I opted for the whole artwork is based and located at the Shirui peak itself to show one of the scenic beauty and landscape of our land. The tree is a reference (commonly called the Monkey tree at Shirui peak) itself where the woman stands on her feet without shoes representing respect and sanctity for the deity and nature. The garments and hair tied to the tree indicates our inseparable relationship with nature.
The woman holding one special lily indicates the uniqueness and rarity of the flower and since it’s for a pageant contest, it represents the winner.
Moreover, there are two silhouettes involved in the woman figure-the lilac tone family and the basic primary colors of red, green, black and white which usually is our traditional textile colors. The lilac/pastel pink tone with exaggerated silhouettes represent the potential of Shirui lily and the random print on the silhouettes represent the inspiration that Shirui lily kept us creating music, lyrics, art etc. The other colors with bold geometric patterns indicate the identity of ours.
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Closer to the rooster element and the leg show of the representative figure is where I think many of you are bigly offended or concerned but I fail to understand the reason. The former (rooster) represents the quality of a good leadership as I have used rooster as the first alarm clock in my past conversation art series and using it in a pageant is a way of creating juxtaposed meaning in my work. In this case it just wanted to show the changing or rather evolving responsibilities of gender roles in various grounds within our society. And personally, this common color of the rooster in a way is very much similar to our textile colors so sometimes I assume that our forefathers must have been inspired by the rooster. Now, addressing something important here, many seem to be triggered by the elongated thigh and the rooster being a derogatory male image to the length that it has been labelled as a raunchy ad. Well, I see that as a perversion of our thoughts and minds because the rooster is being sexualized as a cock which was not my intention.
The artwork is created with my forte as a fashion designer in a fashion illustrator’s perspective by using an elongated fashion figure for narrative and representational purpose. Bottomline, creating this whole narration is solely for the beauty pageant contest. Also, to all the complaints of too much pink in the poster associated with Meitei culture there is a huge margin between lilac and pink.
Brethren as a professional I appreciate any form of criticism, love/hate/whatever but at least have the courage to confront your thoughts on my face if it’s serious enough. Not a single person pointed out any criticism or comments neither constructive nor derogatory on the original page of the artwork. I would have been happy if you did. While strings of criticisms and mocked comments are being made on a platform where I am not present. Sounded more like against it because what you wanted to see was not what I presented. Your inconsiderate thoughts and opinions might block your near or dear ones who want to pursue different dreams. I really wish I was present at the same medium to clarify and explain my work but I am doing it here.
Lastly, I am glad and happy that my #conversationart is really starting a conversation in bigger playgrounds. I hope we are going to play more.
Eastern Light Zimik is a Digital Artist and fashion designer based out of Mumbai