Here’s Looking At You: Why art school models in India continue to work at the risk of their secret life being uncovered
And here’s why they continue to work despite the meagre pay.

Light from the midday sun falls slantwise on the model’s slight figure, as she sits immobile and cross-legged on a high chair at one end of the classroom. She is dressed in a blouse and a petticoat, while in front of her is a small group of students, labouring over canvases stretched out on easels. There’s a sharp smell of turpentine in the air and almost no sound, except for the occasional instruction issued by the teacher. The model is strikingly still. So, it is more than a little startling when Geeta suddenly lifts her eyes and signals that I should approach her.

Subrata Dhar

A few minutes later, we are seated on one of the stone benches outside the drawing and painting department of the Sir JJ School of Arts, Mumbai. As quiet and still as she was in the classroom, Geeta, in her early forties, now breaks into animated conversation. She has been working as a model here since she was 17, a family tradition that is at least five decades old. It began with her mother, Lakshmi, who came to Mumbai from Chennai and was introduced to the work by someone who lived in the same Mahim neighbourhood as her. Later, Geeta’s aunts, then her and her cousins, and finally her children followed suit. “She is now too old to commute by train and bus from Kurla (the family’s current home), and has retired from modelling,” says Geeta. Continued…Read full original article…

Source: Indian Express

Original publication 3 December 2017

11th December 2017

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