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TEXT Suhani Lotlikar 

Founded on the island of Mallorca, Studio 666 is a collective curated in part by Pau Mateu Sáez and Piero Molina promoting young artists around the globe. They recently launched a one-of-a-kind virtual exhibition collaborating with 20 different artists. Having met on a fragile crossroad; art, music and publications lovers Pau and Piero put together their experiences and brought another relationship to life. They are here to share with STARE their take on relationships and masculinity in today’s world through their photo series called Réplica.

The artists explain their artwork as- “an exploration of the over-romanticized approach on loyalty and possessiveness, through a dramatized recreation of both artists’ broken relationships.” Through the medium of photography, they are capturing the wave of emotions that run through oneself after a relationship has met its end. Even as they set the tone to be ‘dramatized’ the series distinctly take one to a heartfelt space of relatability. It studies the effect of one individual on another in the space of vulnerability.


“The contact between the subjects spells out the narrative of their relationships with each other and themselves.”


It explored various themes of ‘sexuality, masculinity and fragility’ leaving behind a sense of existence. As the youth culture all over the world explores new definitions of togetherness, artists like Pau and Piero are providing them with platforms to create and showcase.
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Indian School of Design and Innovation (ISDI) is one of India’s top rated design schools known for its industry focused curriculum. The university has been known for providing students with the best of resources during the period of the 4 year courses and exposure through collaborations with industry experts. So to know about how they have adapted to the lockdown, we spoke to 5 final year ISDI students about COVID-19 and here is what they had to say. This includes the infamous Instagram page anonymously run by a student. 


In context to not having free access to Adobe softwares being one of the most essential resources to work from home for design students- “This is controversial. ISDI being a design school should have helped students in some way. But nevertheless, we do have guest seminars.” @thats_so_isdi . When asked about the quality of tutorials and critic sessions one of the students mentioned that sometimes there are technical issues but the faculty has done their best to help every student. Two other student’s response suggested that the tone of critics has taken a casual turn during this period and demotivating comments have been received making it harder for them to keep their minds stable and focused. “We still are students, young professionals, still learning and figuring our way out. Such comments and extreme late response from faculty leaves a child in stress. This needs to be regulated. Feedback on time is important which is not followed.” We went on to ask about mental health support provided by the university to which one of the student said “we can just share our mental health with the counselor provided by the uni. In this special case of lockdown however, not much has been done. And I don’t think that because of online classes university counselor can be arranged.” Others were unaware of any such facilities provided by the institute. All students have chosen to stay anonymous.


-Voice of students
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And we are all in for the breathtaking, contemporary visuals.

TEXT Suhani Lotlikar 









“It seems three dimensional works are usually the less preferred art-form in comparison with other mediums such as painting and photography. Why is that?” Allia asks STARE while describing her process. 

We asked her how she would prefer to be titled and she chuckles while deciding between a photographer, sculptor or someone who makes things. Titled ‘Heavy glinting bronze, breathing flesh?‘ this piece brings together the intricacies of curves and creases on a sculpture and the capacity of photography to freeze a moment in time. Allia makes us question the importance of three-dimensional art in today’s digital world-

“Sculptures inhabit our reality as we do, occupying space; it makes us walk around it. Perhaps we are scared that an inanimate cold stone, heavy glinting bronze, under the sculptor’s touch, can hold as strong of an erotic power as breathing flesh.”


Using her lens to portray the meaning of sculpture as a form of art, she showcases her appreciation one art form through the medium of another. After studying sculpture applied to set design from Ens aama- one of France’s top craft and design school, Allia consistently portrays the importance of knowing the rules before breaking them in her work. She further adds, “if sensuality and attraction are a mechanism for initiating life, attraction to sculpture points to an impossibility, is an aberration; mirrors death. How do you wish for a body that has no capacity to wish for you? Here, I have composed what is perhaps how many people see or wish to see sculptures of human form – harsh, fragmented, cold.”

She leaves us with a taste of her humor saying, “As for me, I can only stop myself from running my hands over these bodies.”
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TEXT Suhani Lotlikar 

The journey of a 17-year-old entrepreneur has resulted into an everlasting archive of historic Indian monuments.



17-year-old Avantika is the developer and founder of a new trending app called India Story. She is set on a quest to inspire her generation and the ones after to rediscover India’s history through the walls of tourist locations.

Avantika shares the beautiful memory of her visit to the Fort of Edinburgh with her father thinking how well the monument was preserved. But in her own country- India, there is a lack of effort to preserve old, historic locations. Taking matters into her own hands, she decided to create an audio archive of the history of the magnificent locations of India. And thus, India Story was created. She explored various tools such as GPS services and audio-navigation to create a prototype of the app. She then brought together a team of 30 history lovers and students to play the various roles such as writers, marketing experts, photographers and programmers.

Free to download on iOS and Android, the app also collaborated with various organizations of cultural walks and certified tour guides who can be contacted through their website. It’s as simple as three steps- download the app, allow access to your location services and start exploring. However, the pathway to being a young entrepreneur was not easy. The absence of a mentor, lack of trust on young minds, difficulty in fund management have all been huge problems for Avantika. She finally received seed funding from the Indian Angel Network which was the result of her participation in an incubation program called Young Entrepreneurs Academy. She is now working on incorporating religious tourism incorporated into the app. Avantika hopes to expand the app to include more cities and states, and thereby help the world experience India’s rich and diverse history. We stand by her journey and appreciate the effort of all those involved in the project along with her too.

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TEXT Dan Hastings-Narayanin 

Has the demand for a desi male body in mainstream culture led to the desexualization?

When actor Kumail Nanjiani broke the internet at the end of 2019 with a shirtless picture showing off this newly transformed pumped body, thousands of women and men were left drooling over it. And then when he flaunted about this picture being reused by Pornhub, the new Marvel actor created conversations around beauty and sex standards for South Asian men.



For Caroline Vasquez and Claudia Ferreira- two French journalists who specialize in topics related to women and pop culture admitted that Kumail is still ‘not their type.’ On the contrary, they expressed that Asian men can be sexy and fit into the fantasy of many women. Having grown up in a predominantly white country, they justify that ‘For us here, South Asian men are the ones running 24/7 grocery shops.’ According to @yourauntpulandevii – an Instagram account run by a young aid worker promoting brown history, the western knowledge of desi culture does not go further than Bollywood, Taj Mahal, poverty, rape culture and many barely even know Sri Lanka exists. She adds “We don’t see much of the desi man in media albeit documentaries on poverty. Ultimately, the lack of representation in western culture leads to misreading, suspicion, and ignorance. No one can fantasize about them if they are not represented anywhere.” Having a captured a bit of international spotlight, the Slumdog Millionaire and Mission: Impossible actor Anil Kapoor and model Satya Oblette who was scouted by Jean-Paul Gaultier and Kenzo in the 2000’s have shown some advancement. Pulan Devii expresses how proud she and her mother were of this Indian personality embodying westernized beauty standards. And this brings us to the Givenchy F/W 20 collection which was entirely inspired by Yeshwant Rao Holkar II, Maharaja of Indore. It was an astonishing event to watch a desi man and his masculinity setting the tone of a French luxury couture house.

As our wait for South-Asian men in cinema and fashion continues, their representation in professional porn is almost non-existent. And the revolutionized Pakistani-American actor has given us a ray of hope. For his upcoming role in ‘The Eternals’, Nanjiani spent a year working out with trainers and specialized dietitians. Ripped like a bodybuilder, he is being referred to as ‘ridiculously fit and sexy’ on multiple media platforms. But his transformation and achievement of the lead role of a superhero might not just be enough to change the paradigm. Journalist Claudia says, “Let’s take Jackie Chan for instance. He is ripped but I don’t find him sexy.” Yet when it is Jean-Claude Van Damme- the Belgian actor starring in the exact kind of action films, it feels different to her. So, even a bulked up and hairless South Asian man will not be enough until the industry works on diverse representation and we as individuals keep away from the so called ‘ideal beauty’ standards.
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and we are digging the all brown cast featuring Jameela Jamil and Freida Pinto.

TEXT Suhani Lotlikar 

At the end of the last decade, Disney showed us what they had coming for the new decade. The Juniors announced a new show called ‘Mira, Royal Detective’ set to be released in March 2020. The show is about the adventures of a smart young, brown girl named Mira in the fictional kingdom of Jalpur. Her character is played by the 16-year-old Leela Ladnier. In the show, Mira will be seen solving mysterious for both her royal family and the people of the kingdom for which she earns the title of Royal Detective. The cast of the show extends to Freida Pinto who plays Queen Shanti. And our ever-so-lovely Jameela Jamil will voice the character of Mira’s Auntie Pushpa. The star-studded casting list goes on with Kal Penn and Utkarsh Ambudkar who will voiceover the characters of Mikku and Chikku respectively while Aasif Mandvi will voiceover for Mira’s father.


Each episode will feature two 11-minute stories and many of them will spotlight music, dance and customs that are rooted in Indian heritage and culture. As a 90’s kid, one of the desi animated shows I remember was ‘Chota Bheem’ which was set in a village with a strong boy saving the day for everyone. The female character ‘Chutki’ was designed to be fair, skinny and have pink cheeks- you know the typical. The other shows were mostly based on the old Indian mythologies. This show, however, will represent brown culture not only for South Asian children but worldwide. We are hoping for it to be something that brown kids can relate to their age rather than falling into the sexist, misogynist and itemized hands of Bollywood. And the theme song ‘Mira, Mira, Mira, Mira… Royal Detective’ is catchy too! As an animated series lover at 21 myself, I cannot wait for the release of this all-desi show.

 

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