Women Who Project is an interview series highlighting women of color we admire and who inspire us in art and design. This interview is written by guest author, educator, and artist Tanekeya Word.
Who is Meera Sethi?
I’m a Canadian visual artist with an interdisciplinary practice. I ask questions about the relationships between migration, diaspora, identity and hybridity. I tend to foreground contemporary histories on the edges of representation, especially queer, diasporic and post-colonial moments.
I think about fashion and community a lot. The politics of dress is a persistent theme. Like what and who is fashionable, and why. I use a range of mediums to make work from this place, engaging alternative style histories.
How did you arrive at creating the Upping the Aunty project?
I began this project with the idea that I would explore the idea of the “Aunty” and challenge how we understand street fashion. I was seeking a way to honour the relationships with these elders and celebrate a sense of style that resisted conventional notions of western fashion and placed South Asian women and their sense of personal agency at the centre.
There is a trend towards street fashion photography, to capture (stylish) folk out and about in their everyday wear. I am interested in the way fashion is translated by those who are not the “cool and sexy” subjects of this kind of street photography.
Aunties in South Asian cultures are ubiquitous, they are part of our lives yet they are often ridiculed or at best ignored. They also have this “noeffsgiven” sense of style. Like, they care, but also they don’t. They might select this delicate cotton sari with eight colour embroidery, coordinate this with their jewelry and handbag and then throw on a pair or New Balance sneakers to make the walking easier. That’s not just smart, but stylish too. Kind of accidental style. It’s what’s happening on the margins of the runways and fashion blogs that I’m interested in. Read more