This Delhi Based Artist Is a new wave of Indian Pop Culture
By Humaira Ali
On one hand we are fighting the battle for the equality of women in the society on the other we are fighting the deep-rooted system of patriarchy. There have been many artist-driven movements which are challenging the global concept of patriarchy in the last few years. The movements are contributing to Indian pop culture. The voices of queer folk, gender non-conforming people, women, lower caste communities have been affected. It is not that patriarchy is only affecting the other genders of the society but it is affecting men too. There are certain norms which adds up to the term ‘toxic masculinity’ which explains the negative expectations that are placed on boys. There are three major terms with which our society has defined the term patriarchy – suppressed emotions, dominance and aggression.
But there are certain men and boys whose mentality falls outside the accepted gender equations. These men are re-defining the term ‘sexuality’ through their art. Social Chutney talked to one such artist who is exploring the intersections between masculinity, tenderness and sexuality. We put together his work and thoughts which has become our favorite.
Raqeeb, an amateur photographer who captures the intricacies of male sexuality is setting an example by eliminating the toxic masculinity from the society. On one hand, women are taught to be gentle and polite and feminine while on the other men are expected to be tough. Raqeeb, uses body portraits to eliminate the traditional expectations of male sexuality. His work is an attempt to celebrate the sexuality of men who don’t typically conform. His photographs are not only visually striking but also makes viewer to think about the other side of male sexuality.
Raqeeb says, “this journey began last year while photographing my partner and then went on to where it is today. From a very young age I had been ridiculed for effeminacy and unmanliness, so to say. This is the expression of that pent up feeling that I lived with throughout my life. I wanted to normalize the difference and define the variety of masculinity through my work. So that no one ridicules the future generation. I think that it’s too much to ask out of my work but I am trying.”
“everyone in this world has their own way to accept their body, gender, how to move, be and breathe. My friends and family have been really supportive and that is the society I care about. Also there is always the other side of the coin. There have been weird messages but it has been mostly positive from time to time. Many of my work has been reported and removed. That is sometimes difficult to digest but with even after that I can make peace until and unless I have the support.” Raqeeb added.
To effectively accept every human being, one needs to identify such unnecessary notions and challenge them in our day-to-day lives. This will not only help the upcoming generations but will also help to create a positive behavior.
We must admit that artists like Raqeeb are surely a major part of Indian Pop culture as it is becoming increasingly intriguing, new-age, and radical.