Upping the Aunty
Follow this project through the Upping the Aunty Tumblr.
Upping the Aunty is a work in progress of mixed-media paintings that celebrate the iconic “South Asian Aunty”; her personal style and her unique role in our lives.
In South Asian culture, an aunty may or may not be a biological relation. She may be a friend of the family or a stranger. But if she is older than you – old enough to be your mother's friend – then she is accorded the status of aunty. Neither our mothers nor part of our peer group, aunties may be trusted confidantes or gatekeepers of social decorum.
There are many aunties, and we may meet them every week, occasionally or only once; however they have a considerable impact on our lives. In jest, we may fondly mimic their gold and diamond studded hand gestures or their pairing of traditional clothing with running shoes. This mimicry is a form of distancing, while simultaneously drawing attention to cultural traditions that may continue unbroken, be discarded, or are transformed.
Upping the Aunty will honour this unique relationship through portraiture by paying homage to the fabulousness of aunty style and the importance of their role as transmitters of social and cultural knowledge and practices.
Who's your aunty? Do you dig her style. Post a photo on your preferred social network with the hashtag #uppingtheaunty and make sure to tell me about it at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A special thank you to the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for supporting this project.