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.
COME into the garden, Maud, For the black bat, night, has flown, Come into the garden, Maud, I am here at the gate alone; And the woodbine spices are wafted abroad, 5 And the musk of the rose is blown.
For a breeze of morning moves, And the planet of Love is on high, Beginning to faint in the light that she loves On a bed of daffodil sky, 10 To faint in the light of the sun she loves, To faint in his light, and to die.
All night have the roses heard The flute, violin, bassoon; All night has the casement jessamine stirr’d 15 To the dancers dancing in tune; Till silence fell with the waking bird, And a hush with the setting moon.
I said to the lily, “There is but one With whom she has heart to be gay. 20 When will the dancers leave her alone? She is weary of dance and play.” Now half to the setting moon are gone, And half to the rising day; Low on the sand and loud on the stone 25 The last wheel echoes away.
I said to the rose, “The brief night goes In babble and revel and wine. O young lord-lover, what sighs are those, For one that will never be thine? 30 But mine, but mine,” I sware to the rose, “For ever and ever, mine.”
And the soul of the rose went into my blood, As the music clash’d in the hall: And long by the garden lake I stood, 35 For I heard your rivulet fall From the lake to the meadow and on to the wood, Our wood, that is dearer than all;
From the meadow your walks have left so sweet That whenever a March-wind sighs 40 He sets the jewel-print of your feet In violets blue as your eyes, To the woody hollows in which we meet And the valleys of Paradise.
The slender acacia would not shake 45 One long milk-bloom on the tree; The white lake-blossom fell into the lake As the pimpernel doz’d on the lea; But the rose was awake all night for your sake, Knowing your promise to me; 50 The lilies and roses were all awake, They sigh’d for the dawn and thee.
Queen rose of the rosebud garden of girls, Come hither, the dances are done, In gloss of satin and glimmer of pearls, 55 Queen lily and rose in one; Shine out, little head, sunning over with curls, To the flowers, and be their sun.
There has fallen a splendid tear From the passion-flower at the gate. 60 She is coming, my dove, my dear; She is coming, my life, my fate; The red rose cries, “She is near, she is near;” And the white rose weeps, “She is late;” The larkspur listens, “I hear, I hear;” 65 And the lily whispers, “I wait.”
She is coming, my own, my sweet; Were it ever so airy a tread, My heart would hear her and beat, Were it earth in an earthy bed; 70 My dust would hear her and beat, Had I lain for a century dead; Would start and tremble under her feet, And blossom in purple and red.
One would give his heart out when he would meet Summer's day, reading line after line in the ambiance of caffeine and haze. An overwhelming gaze appeared when She rose in her teacup skirt to not only swiftly move him, but to create a fix. One that would last an infinite set of years to hold and cherish. As She rose from her seating, the wind moved swiftly across her teacup skirt outlining a verse in florals. He saw his name..a name that she would call her own, true to her heart.
Unwilling to share her diary's moments with anyone else, Tigger, Monika and I spent the morning with Mithu. Define - Mithu: a woman of overwhelming intelligence and a heart filled with infinite delight. A character that devours the light and emits all of it within the darkest of nights to keep her loved ones away from hesitating surprises. Sitting with her on the morning of July 18th, the drapes on the windows casted romantic shadows on the tapestry and mahogany table which I lay down my cones on. I usually pack light but there was something weighing over my shoulders. A process that I had been prone to since I was a mere 11 years old, was all buried. I could not bare witness to this feeling so I let myself work with the idea of Bridal outside it's regular conventional design compositions. Strange though, I had the design right infront of me but I could not figure out where to begin. I was the Artist, 'I AM THE ARTIST.' How could I have possibly let my mind go idle in the start of the appointment? This beautiful bride became a treasure as she filled her morning henna appointment with laughter and an unbearable twitch. As she spoke, I drew and as I drew she blossomed as a new Bride. We worked around a couple sets of arm rubs and intimate finger abrasion. A set of arms (front and back) till her elbow's very curves and feet (5" above her ankles) I versed her favourite poet's verses; Tennyson.
Her diary from start to finish was created with her favourite verses from the famous poet Alfred Tennyson. The beautiful photos by Monika Mistry instil each and every memory from that blessed day. Her greatest companion, Tigger joined in on the action as he enjoyed the scent of lavender. We watched the lines dance on her arms as she floated above the earth with her heart locked in a chest adorned in emeralds and delight. Her grandmother came to us to see her transform into a Bride. Trinkets from the family adorned her neck and fingers. An arrangement of gifts from her mother and the voices of beloved family and friends joined us later in the evening. A woman is unaware of the changes that once were custom or known.
What happens to a Bride who is not familiar with a custom? Who does a Bride turn to when she is alone? What colour does she wear during her wedding? Does she love the conventional wedding? Who makes the rules?
Speaking to Mithu throughout her henna diary days as well as during her diary event, we had several discussions on customization and where Brides feel their true selves are reinstated. A Bride becomes a woman in her own element while having support. An avocado is at its ripest when it is the happiest of green, a soft firm hold around an avocado provides this delicious vegetable interest to uncover it's juicy and highly nutritious valuable personality; it's interior beauty. Mithu wished for an intimate and private affair because she was used to this element, she is my perfect avocado. Her choice of Mani Jassal was a suitable one for her transitional period. Being adorned as a Bride, you wish to be at ease and fall into a nurturing state of sheer beauty. She gracefully presented herself while being enhanced by Rav B Beauty Concepts. Her flowers in her hair and romantic updo defined her soft hues and natural tan.
The fairies dressed themselves in pearls so that they could mock her presence. Her beauty was that of the sun and her heart forever set to her prince. She was eternally casted in happiness. My teacup beauty. Any morning with her is spent just right. When you have a Bride who is so cheerful and affectionate, your world spins itself undone just to have her smile again. Mithu loves her indian heritage but she wanted something that would redefine it in another light. She consulted with me near the end of the holiday season when I had just arrived back from London, England. We spoke for an hour on how she loved english literature and is a teacher. Her personality was elating art's finest creations and I wanted to give her a twist on the Secret Garden while rendering her favourite poem.
For many of us who choose to contrast heavily in our wedding's desires, we would rather invest in feeling than show and tell. Mithu is that Bride. She wanted to feel the warmth of her friends and so she invited her radiant mother to her consultation. A friend, a best friend, a companion for life is your mother. Mithu's mother was a pleasure to meet and talk to about her daughter's favourite moments. They are a compelling duo. When the consultation had completed, I had the pleasure of creating a beautiful rendering for her while the elements danced and spread throughout her palms.
At the end of this beautiful chapter, a Bride rejoices with her adored collective of blessings. Voices who she will always be compelled by and an orchestra who she will forever be a part of. Congratulations Mithu, a beautiful Breath of Henna Bride. July 2017.