NOW SEEN IN PRINT Must Be Kismet Magazine 2018 Photography - Divine Method Photo
'As an art director and stylist in Toronto, transitioning moods is more than just contrasting colours and cultures..' - Sarah Hussain.
Inspired by the love for culture, I had the pleasure of working with a team of industry professionals to create a love for narrative through travel and textile. Through pattern and texture; embroidery and prints, this editorial embraces a woman with dignity and elegance. Featuring Chandan Fashion, a Toronto brand that not only has an updated taste for Indian Bridal fashion but a youthful, inviting atmosphere.
This editorial is one that was inspired by the emotions woven into the garments for South Asian women. Particularly into their armoire of sensitivity during their ruksati (the third stage of a Bride).
Growing up in a household filled with the scent of cardamom, fried onions and mixed spices wasn't always comforting when walking out of your home. I never noticed the scent of my mother's cooking until I was fond of the dishes. Being raised in Ontario in the 80s, I found myself wearing patterns that coloured my world, similar to the medley of ingredients seen in a festering pot of bhiryani. As I grew older, my wardrobe aged with reason to style and I didn't simply purchase items because I wanted to; trends did not exist. My wardrobe began to weigh with responsibility and I no longer idealized a world of freedom of expression. My culture expressed my faith and style, which endlessly curated my family's respect towards me. My selections of lawn prints and saree fittings granted others a more than intimate gaze into my world because I was entirely confident.
NOW Radiating into my 30s
StageTWO, w i s d o m
As I revolve around the sun for another chapter, I carry my weight with these words:
a letter to myself.. 'Today the colours turn a tone closer to being a shade. My vows to the great accomplishments in life, have shortened their distance in time. My culture-clock has brought waves of challenges that I can no longer use education as an excuse for an extension. I now belong to the 30 and above class on the surveys and grants are available to me for my best words and no longer my age. Listening to my voice is like listening to a broken cassette filled with Hope that an opportunity to be 20 again will arise. Marriage is now a phase I want to pass so I can officially live my life without boundaries. Trust is an exemplary token of appreciation I hold dearly.
Turning 30 today just got me in a hurry. Living life through my creations has justified that age really is like fine cheddar. The best portion of your life is not determined by your age but by your accomplishments.
StageTHREE, p o s t u r e
Through this editorial, the images take a glance at each stage that a Bride is faced with. Challenges that may not seem challenging to the discourse that they are placed in. In societies of our own, immigrant families are given the authority to certify their daughters as quality goods for others homes. Why else are we groomed so hastily after ripening into the purest fruit?
Being bare-footed has never felt more liberating. Letting go of cultural reforms and breathing to my own rhythm has allowed me to travel through the doors of many homes. Having acknowledged that every daughter must be married and every woman must be given away, I conformed to marrying later than earlier. Similarly, I have accepted the act of marriage but willingly and to my own measures. I do not believe in the practice of perfecting a young woman as her youth allows her to mould her world into the one she wishes to have. Growth is a key element that refines the sanctity of marriage and with great conversation comes great friendship. We need to come together as a unit, an undying structure that guides our future with the culture that was implemented in our youth. Fortunately, my posture was never ideal and my mother was my backbone through my abnormalities. If we have more conversations about the yearning for sophistication in our daughters, parents will never have to see their daughters as furnishings in rooms filled with regretful family patterns.
StageFOUR, Reflect- ION
Culture does not have a geographic location, it is a mind set and a practice of values that are of most importance to one's life. A spirited individual will share their stories with you because they believe life is full of blossoming possibilities whereas someone who has been surrounded by the preachings of others may silently confront similar feelings. Stage four is for reflection on your accomplishments and prosperity. What have you done that will diversify your relationship with your significant other; your family and your foot print? We speak of changing the system that we are a part of, a social experiment that exists now more than ever due to social media and our relationships with trends and reports. I have had such a difficult time rephrasing my story to better connect with the audience that I wish to voice my concerns to. My views become redundant and my readers become engulfed in a world that quickly confuses or leaves them asking for more. Which is why I come to this point, why does it matter if the post is complete? My reflection on the idea of marriage may not be yours but I do believe that the standards expected in our demographic is far too brutal for the young women of today. We bury far too much into the first born crevices of our dimples, weighing our smiles with expectations and patterns long gone from our wardrobe. This confrontation is for you to see that there was no set of five stages for a Bride; have no expectations when it comes to marriage or leaving home. Guide yourself with your bare feet and walk the steps of a strong woman; your mother. The poem below will free your spirit and guide you to a better understanding of yourself. Follow no trend.
As every passing moment goes by, I allow another string on my heart to play a melody. A tune I connect with the earth that rattled my mother's doors as I entered her womb. The soil on the soles of my feet are from the warmer climates of the East where turmeric and sandalwood create a fine base for wisdom and social standards. My roots still watered from the weight of hair in oils scented with hibiscus and mustard seeds.
My spine overlooking the sea towards the West. With eyes as sharp as the eagle's flight. My age is marked with entitlements to knowing the finest silks and hand cut glass. Carvings of sand and wood cut creases in between the cushion of my toes as I traveled into the storms of the unknown.
Inferior to this land, I am a woman with an adventure pierced into my back. The adornments I wear are now my reflections and experiences. I forever travel light with trunks filled with certainty and liberation.
These are words from me to you to guide you in the awareness of yourself. The journey that must take place by stepping out your front door. The gaze through your windows will only take you so far, so if this written aids you in your adventure than please write it on your heart. Liberation is a part of who we are; humanity. We live to seek for the love of ourselves in others and when patience grows weak, we succumb to the voice of our surroundings. Be aware of your spirit and acknowledge its worth for she will live infinitely when she hears your voice.
Pulling away the layers of the embellished fittings from around under my bust. I couldn't breathe. As soon as I exhaled my head leaned backwards to straighten my spine. I could not fathom the weight. I felt as though, heaven's greatest had forgotten to take His mighty hand off the crown of my skull. My surroundings were muted by the silence of colours escalading through the corners of my eyes as when the sun's rays would highlight the cerulean waters of the ocean; the veil dropped. I fixed the trinklets hooked onto my bangles and ran a sliver of skin down the side of the embroidered bands to the crevice of my breasts. My fingers poised upwards as my gaze lowered, and I started to walk.
The circulation in my waist was concealed and the fluidity of my hips began to sway along the weight of my skirt as I caught a glimpse of her. She looked gently and recited, 'chasm-e-badoor' (to ward off the evil eye). I acknowledged her graciously with a smirk. Alas my neck, which had no meaning; as though it never existed, began to let go of its poise. Gravity showed no mercy as I sauntered towards my reigning throne.
O' Eyes of despair why are you lurking through the windows of my soul. This is my awakening and I have wished for this ever so dearly. The details were ideally a dream, a miraculous world woven of the finest silks and the warmth of the lavender incense had the room glowing. I could not see the aisles of leisure and freedom.
I was raised on the mountains where the birds nurtured me with freedom and my relentless behavior gave heed to the winds of the storm. I never even tied my hair. My locks would surround my body as a void of protection and wisdom; virtuous. My veil, the veil you have so well defined as my best also came with a world that you never did tell me as I slept. A world of perplexed thinkers, a surrounding of voices in constant turmoil; one where I would never find peace. Truth is that, you; she, her, you never made it clear or found a reason to exist within the turmoil. You simply lived. Did you? You're probably reading this entry thinking about the stereotypes behind women who are of culture, of belonging to a realm of traditional cultivated thoughts. Minorities? No. We all exist in the world of discomposed thinkers and segregating activists - within our own homes. I love my husband, I truly do but to acknowledge him as my complete that isn't one-hundred percent true. I hasten my ordinary every day without a doubt, my sleep is no longer filled with intrinsic adventures. It is no longer my own.
You once recited a dream, a story of warriors and if I recall, it went something like this...
Creatures that blossomed from an unearthly Incomparable union of sacred rituals and blessings. Bred in silk-spun wombs Their spines inhaled the nectar They bathed in the syrup of that very nectar Where branches of saffron blended Together with the milk of almonds As the nelumbo nucifera carried them afloat; The Indian lotus. They were raised as warriors Their hands soft as the belly of a hummingbird.
They were voices Once. Without pain or cries. There was once a time When all was countless Spirited and free. Thankfully there is still a mother, I wish to be.
As I raise my head, the floral garlands on my wrists revive the glow overlooking my view. The glow that one believes to exist when in union with harmony. It was him all along. My grasp is liberated to unfold this very letter that was embedded in my soul. I had been immersed in the depth of his presence, as he held my hand, he looked into my eyes and his smile opens up another portal. I now recall those dreams that you so generously gifted me as a child, "O' love of mine, your being is to be with the very best. The all vital state of your existence is when you know yourself and he accepts you true."
Stepping on the stage to be crowned, as his wife, with him, a man - his name was announced. This was your letter and my day is today. Your recitings before I left home were to protect but to also instill the very teachings you were taught. The veil is of a prevailing state. Laughter of a blooming household; a shelter for the traveler, a mirage of passage through cultural narratives. I was the center of my home. The veil was my power and I wore it as my crown. A veil is worn by a Bride on her wedding day, an entitlement not every woman can carry forth. She is a warrior and life is her battle.
Credits for the work seen in the highlighted editorial within this written response:
"I humbly accept this union of tranquil bliss and flourishing friendship, devotion and sentiment. This, now, here is infinite as I have waited for this time of the awakened state. I am aware of your delightedness and as I too am delighted. We are aware of the challenges that will grace us with their hindering ventures. But, you and I both know there is nothing that we have not advanced through. We are OK. My friendship will coexist with my love for you as you are what defines my state of being a woman. I hope you can say the same or at least that this moment acknowledges our harmony together. You bring challenging discourse to our times of union as do I and we are still here. We all possess baggage and we need a state of revival - when I met you, you revived me. You shower me with endless opportunity and you are aware of what whirl winds I attain. Let me be open to you, I will guide you and astonish you with remarks but to cherish you as heaven's greatest gift is to not say the least. You are that presence I had seeked for; a longing I had wondered about since the first marriage I attended. I was ecstatic about the trinkets of embellishments and what love was. The veil, if it may weigh heavy, we will pull through. Never to let go of your hand in times of distraught. You are what defines great men and I have been so very privileged to have you in my life."
I hope you all have enjoyed another written piece by me and will comment below. Again this is a personal blog. If you would like to further discuss the symbolism that is behind this piece, please do send an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for reading this.