Photo Story: Your Body Is Redacted

Nudity or boudoir art is the oldest form of art which has suffered from perceptions of the audience. However, nudity in my body of work developed meanings and answers the question why on a daily basis but in its truest form it is a celebration of oneself.

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Human bodies have been processed and broken down into aspects for the longest span. The age long sexualization of the most common thing among homosapiens, their bodies and skin, has always baffled me. The banality of our skin is differentiated on the basis of our gender or sexual orientation which gives rise to untethered conversations and token term of “censorship”. Censorship is a policy driven agenda to scrutinize art originating from how “obscenity” is defined. It is a discriminatory tool against artwork relating to depicting self-appreciation and falls perfectly of what is considered as a taboo. It baffles me how any artwork can be put in a straight jacket concept of what it is and how your body is not perceived as an ideal one. It is curbing of artistic freedom and the intention to question and rebel against it is what my body of work intends to achieve. It has been well said by an artist, that obscenity in art does not hold as an argument, art has no boundaries and therefore something will be offensive to someone in every form and means; it is when you fight it that you develop the true expression of art.

Nudity or boudoir art is the oldest form of art which has suffered from perceptions of the audience. However, nudity in my body of work developed meanings and answers the question why on a daily basis but in its truest form it is a celebration of oneself. I have my own share of experiences where my work has been constantly turned to social dust and finally this year Instagram, a platform whose foundation was giving artists a space to flourish has such stringent rules and policies against nudity, deleted my account on the pretext of it going against “Community Guidelines. Ironically, that community preaches art as a priority and creative liberation is at the centre of it. It is well reiterating here that when you deny an artist the chance to explore their art, you’re enforcing your beliefs on them.

We as a civilisation have created spheres of acceptance of bodies and skin and the barrier of which sphere it is “allowed” in. Censorship is what is used to define the allowing zones. These platforms for artists and creators have stringent norms shunning them from showcasing their work on account of it not being acceptable. It is bizarre that in the age of abusive, toxic and fake descriptions of events and imagery, the energy of these “platforms of content growth” are more focused on subjecting artists to being shadow banned, censored or deleted. I believe that creating my body of work has not only given me the solace of accepting my own self but has made me aware that this revolution is a fight against the very definitions which we have decided falls perfectly into our acceptable sphere of society. Artistic liberation and empowerment is being curbed by depicting only certain parts of the body and those further instil hate from the audience which is an environment curbing of every aspect of self-growth and also goes completely against the notion of the artist’s intent through those images. The artworks currently revolving around such expression of body and skin are dissenting censorship due to how they have been viewed and seen in a bad light by said platforms and individuals. Therefore, my body of work comes with the purpose of making a conversation about acceptability of self a normalised one and to stand against repeated shaming by censorship in turn embarking on a much needed dialogue of body equality.

My work is available on my website: https://elinabanerjee.portfoliobox.net/ & Instagram handle: https://www.instagram.com/gayxswan/.

About the guest author

Elina Banerjee

Elina Banerjee is a photographer currently based in Nation’s Capital, professionally a lawyer and ecstatically a photographer/artist who shoots self-portraits. The series is from the Project “Gayswans”. With photography, the artist wishes to bring forward the images of not what one sees or grows to believe but what one experiences, an attempt to resonate with what one never says.
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