Dark Is Divine: Chennai-based photographers challenge fair-skin obsession

Much has been written about Indian mindset obsessing over the fair skin. Even the gods and goddesses were not left out of this discussion since the day Raja Ravi Varma decided to depict Hindu deities, scenes from the epics like Mahabharata, Ramayana, or Puranas. He made sure that people had easy access to his paintings back in the day. This possibly established that even the religious representation will lean towards fairness, even if Krishna, Ram, Shankar, etc were described as having darker skin tone. Trying to break this barrier about the fairness of skin and challenging the obsession of the society, two creative minds from Chennai decided to work on something titled ‘Dark Is Divine.’

Bharadwaj Sundar and Naresh Nil run Slingshot Creations. It’s a five years old ad film production house based out of Chennai. The duo observed that the Gods we worship are often depicted as having a ‘fair’ skin tone. Despite how they have been described in the literature, in common culture they are rarely depicted as dark-skinned, with other colours being used in certain cases.

Within a span of two months, they shot seven deities from Hindu mythology choosing to depict them in darker skin tone – Laxmi, Durga, Saraswati, Shankar, Lord Muruga, Sita with Luv and Kusha, and Bal Krishna.


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