I was only awkward until the robe came down; once it was down I was bare and felt liberated. In my head, it all sounded poetic, like there were gongs of freedom chiming in the background. But when I took a quick look at the faces around me, it brought me back to think how normal it actually is to pose nude for drawing. All artists in their own rights, going about drawing me like they would draw any other model, learning and practicing how the light played on the contours of my body. Not to say that the sense of liberation I felt was not legitimate.
It all boils down to the aspect of where I come from. If and when my parents or the extended family back in India comes to know that I pose nude, I wouldn't know how they would react. They maybe okay with it or taken aback by the very act. It wouldn't change my view or decision in any way, but still I just indulged in these thoughts, like trying to interview myself in my head.
I recently came across this article from a few months ago that states a hike in daily wages of live models for government run art schools in India. But the plight for these models are far from over. The following article and video clearly portrays the dogma that exists in our society regarding live nude models for art.
India's life drawing models kept under wraps (BBC video)
Luckily for me, the art teacher, Mr. Cyrus Wadia, I had back in Pune (India) opened our minds to see things with much clarity. Having chosen art as our field we were already victims of passive rebuke from our peers, but the major unlocking of our minds came from our art teacher nonetheless. During our search for inspiration in art, he'd say, "Let's talk! No matter how perverse your idea is, let's talk; and we'll make something good out of it!"
With the seed of liberation planted in us, we ventured out; I ventured out. Now, eight years after I did my bachelors in Civil Engineering and four years after quitting my job, I'm pursuing my Master of Fine Arts in Painting from Indiana State University.
My teachers here are as amazing as I had hoped for. I attended my first live-model drawing session here and understood why it is so important in an art course; why it is so important to break the dogma and unnecessary societal bonds in art that exists in India.
The drawings below are all made from life, using charcoal and graphite majorly.
I'm up for modeling nude soon again, and I only have two thoughts: "It's my body and I'm proud of it." And also 'It's just a human body!'