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Arunima Maharshi

IWB Blogger

Artist Pranavi Suthagar Tells Us All She Is Not ‘Sari’ About And Makes Us Fall For Her ‘Curry Vibes’

  • IWB Post
  •  November 15, 2017

What she wears, how she talks, with who she is, these are the omnipresent criteria that society judges a woman on. A quick look at your attire and people know if you are homely or bold, let alone the character certificate they sign off.

But thank god for women in the many nooks and corners of the world who are freely wearing, and confidently advocating that much desired “unapologetically me” attitude!

Exactly the attitude that the “bold” Toronto-based South Asian Artist, Pranavi Suthagar’s Instagram, Not Sari, reflects!

“Not Sari basically means being unapologetic about your identity, and reclaiming your culture in your own way”. It was the lack of accurate depictions of South Asians in the West, and the need to understand and accept one’s identity that inspired Pranavi to illustrate.

Wish to know more about her ‘be-yourself and reclaim-your-culture’ illustration style? Hashtag Scroll:

Summer body ready in 3 weddings or less #thatshitheavy

2,179 Likes, 68 Comments – NOT SARI 🔴 (@not__sari) on Instagram: “Summer body ready in 3 weddings or less #thatshitheavy”

You went against your family’s will to study art. How long did it take you to take that first step?

It took me a year of hating my business program in university to actually consider switching to a design school. But more than that year, I had always wanted to pursue design or art. However, it never seemed viable to me as I never felt I had a choice. It was only until I found how unhappy business school made me that I realized pursuing a career for my parents wouldn’t be a win-win situation.

What is the most fascinating thing about the brown community living in the West?

I’ve never lived outside of the “West” so I can’t really compare my experience to living somewhere outside of Canada. But I feel the way different South-Asian cultures are preserved, and adapted, is really cool. Whether it’s through food, events or even the ponds cream my mom and probably yours, too, uses.

How amma’s tryna be #notsari

1,124 Likes, 63 Comments – NOT SARI 🔴 (@not__sari) on Instagram: “How amma’s tryna be #notsari”

What majorly influences your work? Is it mostly about breaking the stereotypes surrounding the South Asian women?

I’m mainly influenced by the lack of accurate depictions of the first-generation South Asian people. My work depicts the experience of a South Asian living in the West, someone who is trying to understand their identity with few to no references. I try to pull from my personal experiences as well as ones that are shared with friends and family. I love exploring the bond I have with South Asian people of different backgrounds, especially through the abundant similarities we share.

Do you do something else to keep yourself financially independent?

Yes, I currently work as a graphic designer for an online clothing store and freelance on the side.

GUYS I’m actually SO SHOOK. The Chai or Die pins are officially sold out! Thank you all for your overwhelming support so far!! 🙏🏾 ✨Stickers and Prints✨ are still available so check them out! Let me know what other things you guys would like to see me selling in the comments 🙆🏾Thanks again for all the support💕

1,391 Likes, 64 Comments – NOT SARI 🔴 (@not__sari) on Instagram: “GUYS I’m actually SO SHOOK. The Chai or Die pins are officially sold out! Thank you all for your…”

Why is your Insta-handle called Not Sari’?

Not Sari basically means being unapologetic about your identity and reclaiming your culture in your own way. And of course, I swapped the word “sorry” with “sari” cause who doesn’t like a good pun, or sari?!

Which artwork of yours would you call the boldest?

I really liked my last post, “Sugar, Spice, and Curries with Rice”.

Sugar, spice and curries with rice. These were the ingredients chosen to make the perfect brown girls ✨

3,482 Likes, 256 Comments – NOT SARI 🔴 (@not__sari) on Instagram: “Sugar, spice and curries with rice. These were the ingredients chosen to make the perfect brown…”

Has any post of yours ever got banned on Instagram for ‘violating its rules’?

Nope!

 

“Chi Chi!” – every aunty ever , 2017

751 Likes, 27 Comments – NOT SARI 🔴 (@not__sari) on Instagram: “”Chi Chi!” – every aunty ever , 2017″

Which stereotypes make you burst into laughter?

That brown girls are timid and compliant.

Also, share the most interesting Aunty-chronicle from your life.

I think the weirdest ongoing chronicle/assumption that has graciously been given to me by many aunties is that I am a “party girl”. It’s funny because it’s almost completely based on the pretense that I live in Toronto and have a septum piercing. I find this ironic because I spend most of my free time on the couch with my roommate/best friend joking about our lack of social life. But hey, at least my aunts think I have a life!

when he cute, but 5 seconds into the convo he hits you with “whats your background?” 🙄

2,558 Likes, 140 Comments – NOT SARI 🔴 (@not__sari) on Instagram: “when he cute, but 5 seconds into the convo he hits you with “whats your background?” 🙄”

Has your artwork brought any positive change in your family?

Not really. My parents think it’s fascinating, but I think I still have a long way to go until it has that sort of impact on them.

How was the parenting that you received different from the rest of the lot (with parents belonging to a different ethnicity, if I’m correct)?  

My parents are both Sri Lankan Tamil. I think comparing my upbringing to some of my childhood friends, I was just not allowed to do a lot of things most kids were allowed to do. Things like camping, sleepovers, leaving the house generally. She laughed-out-loud.

Which desi-habit the West should adopt?

“Become more hospitable by way of offering copious amounts of snacks to guests”, she exclaimed.

When brown girl brows were on fleek before “fleek”👊💥 tag your browspiration ✨

998 Likes, 48 Comments – NOT SARI 🔴 (@not__sari) on Instagram: “When brown girl brows were on fleek before “fleek”👊💥 tag your browspiration ✨”

One habit we must get rid of, already?

I think there is a lot of judgment within the South Asian community which prevents us all from bonding over the similarities that outnumber our differences.

Are you a fan of Bollywood? One dialogue that explains the story of your life would be?

I’m not really a movie person at all, whether it’s Bollywood, Hollywood or anything in between. But when it comes to the music from the movies, I love it all, especially 90s Tamil hits and anything Bhangra.

With the hashtag ‘Curry Vibes Only’, tell us about your favorite desi food.

It’s a tie between vegetable kottu roti, and paneer in literally any size, shape or form.

👅💦

503 Likes, 28 Comments – NOT SARI 🔴 (@not__sari) on Instagram: “👅💦”

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