A censitive take on sexuality

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | DEVIKA GOWRI
Published Jun 27, 2016, 12:00 am IST
Updated Jun 27, 2016, 8:57 am IST
‘Being Censible’ by Akshita Chandra has got a lot of attention for its bold take on censorship in India on the grounds of sexuality.
Akshita Chandra
 Akshita Chandra

The giggle that overpowered us during sex education class went a long way in changing our perceptions of sex. Avoiding the mocking stares of boys in biology class was easy, but watching the teacher stammer awkwardly through female puberty made an impact. Slowly a blush set in and hasn’t left our cheeks since… What is it about sexuality and sexual growth that makes it obscene or anti-cultural to talk about? Since when has one’s private bedroom become a topic of social interest?

This is what ‘Being Censitive’ (pun on the words ‘censor’ and ‘sensitive’), an art project by Akshita Chandra, addresses. What began as a student project at Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Bengaluru, turned into something else, even catching former diplomat and current MP Shashi Tharoor’s attention! Through the project, Akshita explores censorship in India on the grounds of obscenities, taking direct inspiration from the sculptures at Khajuraho Temple. “The premise of the project was to take a part of history, any history, and I had to ground it in the contemporary setting. My point of interest was the Khajuraho temple art,” she says. Having visited it multiple times, she was quite familiar with the temple. Strangely, only 15-20 per cent of the art there is erotic, while the other sections show animal motifs, war scenes and so on. “But, the erotic sculptures are what the temple is known for and yet, we do not consider it obscene because we see it in a sacred setting.

 

I wanted to juxtapose this past with incidents from the present to create a dialogue on censorship and obscenity,” she explains.   

A combination of illustration and paper craft, the juxtapositions are presented as a series of GIFs on her Tumblr page —the incident of couples in a private hotel being booked for public indecency are shown as nude images that pop out through paper ‘windows’.





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