We all have seen images and idols of Gods and Goddesses and one thing we all must have noticed that most of the deities are depicted as having a fair skin tone. The same could be because most Indians do favour whiter complexion and some of us even desire the same. Also, white complexion for Gods is mostly imagined as the same equates it with being better. But what is important to note that we Indians chiefly have dark skin tone. So can we relate to the fair-skinned deities? The same question came up in the minds of two Chennai based photographers. Bharadwaj Sundar and Naresh Nil re-imagined Hindu deities as dark skinned to crush the stereotype we follow and challenged our white skin obsession. They came up with a photo shoot to depict God and Goddesses in dark skin colour and titled it as “Dark is Divine”.
“Whether it’s temples within our own homes or the pictures of Gods at a barber shop – they are all the same. All of them show Gods who are fair,” he told The News Minute. “I believe it’s a post-colonial hangover. The idea that fair is superior and better seems to have come from there. Because here, in India, we’re a majority of dark-skinned individuals,” Bharadwaj added. The photographers shot seven Hindu deities- Goddess Laxmi, Durga, Goddess Saraswati, Lord Shiv, Lord Murugan, Goddess Sita with Luv and Kush and Bal Krishna.
Click through the Instagram post to check out all seven photos
Divinity has many forms, and colours have been used in various ways to depict the Divine. The jury is out, but in common culture, we still find godliness being depicted through ‘white’ or ‘fair’ skin, right from the small photo of God in the neighborhood store, to the big framed photo hanging inside a house. By depicting Gods we revere as dark-skinned, this initiative aims to celebrate a different view of their divinity, serenity and all pervasive beauty by going beyond perceptions. Dark is not just beautiful, but divine. Production House – Slingshot Creations Concept & Creative Inputs – @monkeyheadatwork, @nithukarnee & @naresh_nil Photography – @naresh_nil Art – @mrkarthikrajkumar Styling – @nithukarnee Makeup & Hair – @rameshsridevi Creative Associate – @samlovemusic89 Copy – @architokes Production Manager – Guna Sekaran Costumer – Selvaraj Post Production Saintart & Sathish Sathya Illustrator – Narendar Asst Photographers – @avinash1414391 & @naveenkrishh Asst Makeup – Mary Special Thanks to Philomin Raj Arosam Media Solutions Monisz Monisha@Diya Vandana Mazan Vagu Mazan Vaishnavi Kannan Suganya Vijayaragavan Vinay Jonathan Srv Saran Aral Ak Selvaraj Jayakannan Gurusamy
Their idea was not to hurt anybody’s sentiments and the only aim was to celebrate a different view of divinity by going beyond the perceptions. As per reports, they started the concept of the project in September 2017. The duo wanted to do a 12 photo series for a calendar but due to budget issues, they limited the number of photos to seven. Their main goal was to normalize the dark-skinned Gods.