Upping The Aunty
Acrylic & fabric on canvas
36 in. x 60 in.
Upping the Aunty is a three-part project that combines paintings, street style photographs and an adult colouring book to explore the iconic “South Asian Aunty”; her personal style and her unique role in our lives. The project is an example of transnational, diasporic cultural production that pays homage to the fabulousness of aunty style and her role in changing, shaping and performing social and cultural knowledge. Upping the Aunty challenges dominant, Eurocentric narratives of feminized immigrant and diasporic communities, national identity, street style and popular fashion.
In South Asian culture, an aunty may or may not be a biological relation. She may be a friend of the family or a stranger. But if she is close to your parents' generation, then she is accorded the status of aunty. Neither our mothers nor part of our peer group, aunties may be trusted confidantes or gatekeepers of social decorum.
There are many aunties, and we may meet them every week, occasionally or only once; however they have a considerable impact on our lives. In jest, we may fondly mimic their gold and diamond-studded hand gestures or their pairing of traditional clothing with running shoes. This mimicry is a form of distancing, while simultaneously drawing attention to cultural traditions that may continue unbroken, be discarded, or are transformed.