When 21-year-old Akshita Chandra, a visual artist in Bengaluru was asked to do a project as part of her college curriculum, it gave her the opportunity to work on something that has been in the back of her mind for years.
Akshita created a series of drawings titled ‘Being Censitive’, in which she gave the Khajuraho paintings a contemporary twist.
The inspiration for these drawings came from issues like the police raid in a lodge in Mumbai, and the city’s ban on lingerie-clad mannequins. Applying censorship to illustrate censorship itself is what Akshita’s art intends to achieve.
“Even when speaking about censorship through my drawings, I wanted the audience to know what was being censored, and so incorporated interactivity in the drawings without the artist’s intervention,” she shares.
Speaking on the theme 'past', Akshita says, “I did not want to create something that would be stuck in the past, but instead wanted to make it relevant in the contemporary world. It was also the time when the news about censorship and moral policing were doing rounds, thinking about those frustrated me."
The project that took close to four months to complete was done as part of a project in her 7th semester at Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology in November last year.
It was only in June this year that she decided to publish it. However, she was in for a shock when her illustrations were taken down from a website which was in fact supposed to be a platform for artists to share their work. She later posted them on Tumblr to make it available in the public domain, "without any censorship," she points out sarcastically.
Describing the drawings, Akshita says that interactivity and viewer’s participation was of utmost importance to her.
“It is unlikely that people attribute religious value to nudity, since we often associate nudity with guilt. I have always found it fascinating that such erotic sculptures in Khajuraho temple are worshipped,” she says.
Akshita, a native of Allahabad has visited Khajuraho temple a few times in the past, but never really put her thoughts into art, until now.
"I based my drawings on photographs from the temple that I had collected during my past visits and some others were available online," she says.
Check out all the drawings here.