You too can touch the moon – Yashoda with Krishna (from the hijra fantasy series)
This is a portrait of Malini. She expressed the desire to be a mother. "I want to point to the moon and tell my child that s/he too can reach out and touch the moon". I decided to base this image on a Raja Ravi Varma painting titled 'Yashoda with Krishna'. The reason i choose Varma's painting as a reference point of departure is because it is an uncontested fact--and an irony of history--that the problematic utopian vision infusing these paintings became emblematic of colonial India's fraught modernity. This photo-fantasy of Malini is clearly meant to function as a perverse "queering" of Ravi Varma's mythological pictures, and of the colonial history that produced them. I paid a lot of attention to art direction, casting, lighting and detailing in general for this series. The opulence of the chosen reference also helps to transcend the class heirarchies that prevent hijras from moving into any positions of power or privilege.