Through the Lens: Life and Politics in Asia | Society | South Asia

Rupali Patil on the Challenges of Being a Woman Artist

The artist from Pune, India recounts censorship and bias.

Vishal Arora
Rupali Patil on the Challenges of Being a Woman Artist

Local authorities in the city of Pune in western India recently censored visual artist Rupali Patil’s work for being “offensive.” The art work, a photograph of clothes drying in the sun, was to be displayed at the Pune Biennale Foundation. The photograph showed female underwear and bras being covered while male undergarments were left in the open — a common practice in India.

Through the censored work, Patil, a resident of Pune whose work has been displayed in exhibitions in Turkey, Poland, and other countries, wanted to fight a culture where women are required not to “provoke” men to ensure their safety. Women artists have other challenges, too, says Patil in this video shot in the neighboring city of Mumbai, as she ruminates on what it means for her to be an artist.