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Priya Motiani

IWB Blogger

This Transgender Artist Reinvented Her Mother’s Pictures & They’re Pure Gold!

  • IWB Post
  •  May 18, 2016

 

A Toronto-based transgender, Vivek Shraya, recreated old photographs of her mother and they’re STUNNING! Not merely because they’re a beautiful modern rendition of pictures of the gone-by time, but mainly because of the spooky striking resemblance between the two ladies – one of which was born as a boy.

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Vivek is an artist – a songwriter, a singer, a short story writer, a visual artist, at large. Her body of work, comprising of several films, albums, and books, has won her the honor of multiple prestigious accolades.

What adds to the beauty of this particular photo project of hers is the essay that accompanies it. Oh, by the way, did I tell you what this project is called?

TRISHA.

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This name also bears significance – Vivek’s mother would have named her daughter Trisha, had she had a daughter, though it is a different fact that she prayed for two sons.

My story has always been bound to your prayer to have two boys. Maybe it was because of the ways you felt weighed down as a young girl, or the ways you felt you weighed down your mother by being a girl. Maybe it was because of the ways being a wife changed you. Maybe it was all the above, and also just being a girl in a world that is intent on crushing women. So you prayed to a god you can’t remember for two sons and you got me. I was your first and I was soft. Did this ever disappoint you? – An excerpt from the essay.

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“While transitioning in the past year, it’s been surreal to look at this photo and see how similar we look, and the idea for this project was born out of noting our particular similarities at this moment in my life. I have often credited Tyra Banks for learning how to ‘smize’ but when I look at the photos, it’s clear that I have learned my smize skills from my mother,” she told BuzzFeed.

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You had also prayed for me to look like Dad, but you forgot to pray for the rest of me. It is strange that you would overlook this, as you have always said, “Be careful what you pray for.” When I take off my clothes and look in the mirror, I see Dad’s body, as you wished. But the rest of me has always wished to be you.

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I modeled myself—my gestures, my futures, how I love and rage—all after you. Did this worry you and Dad? Did you have the kinds of conversations in bed that parents of genderqueer children on TV have, where the Dad scolds the Mom—“This is your fault”? No one is to blame. Not you, not the god you prayed to. I was right to worship you. I remember finding these photos of you three years ago and being astonished, even hurt, by your joyfulness, your playfulness. I wish I had known this side of you, before Canada, marriage and motherhood stripped it from you, and us.

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I learned to pray too. My earliest prayers were to be released from my body, believing that this desire was devotion, this was about wanting to be closer to god. I don’t believe in god anymore, but sometimes I still have the same prayer. Then I remind myself that the discomfort I feel is less about my body and more about what it means to be feminine in a world that is intent on crushing femininity in any form. Maybe I got my wish to be you after all.

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“I had the idea in November and the planning took place until the shoot in March. I was mostly worried about the clothing, as these photos were taken in the ’70s.Thankfully, one of my friends, Mickelli Orbe, is an amazing designer, and I had him tailor three of the pieces, including the dress in the cake-cutting photo,” she added.

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“My brother has been very enthusiastic about the project and has been blown away by my resemblance to our mother in the photos. He said to me, ‘I always thought I looked more like Mom but I was wrong!’”

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“I haven’t yet shown my mom but I hope to, one day,” Vivek concluded.

Here’s the link to the whole of project Trisha.

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2 thoughts on “This Transgender Artist Reinvented Her Mother’s Pictures & They’re Pure Gold!

  1. EliasPotash27552@gmail.com'corburt erilio

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    Reply

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