Photographer of the Week #190: Prarthna Singh

Prarthna Singh is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in photography.  Previously based in New York, she currently resides in Mumbai, India. Singh’s work is concerned with India’s transitional nature; that of contrast, fragility and abundance. Her images have a recognizable language, revealing the human condition and capturing design through minimal intervention. The images in this feature are part of her series “Wrestlers”:

An overarching theme in my journey as a visual artist has been an attempt to uncover newer expressions of feminine strength. For this series I turned to an unusual form: female wrestling. Experiencing life as a woman in India comes with social pressures and vulnerabilities that are imposed, assimilated, and lived with varying degrees of severity. In wrestling, much like any other sport, you start early. Girls from their late teens spend up to eight to eleven months of the year away from their families at training camps preparing for their next competition. Their harder fight lies outside the sport altogether. In inhabiting the social in a way that challenges fixed ideas of gender and where the arena of dispute may emerge anywhere – perhaps at home in a stray comment from a relative on being more ‘feminine’, or on the street in the form of a humiliating remark. Each of their stories speaks of overcoming innumerable hardships, notably fighting family pressure. And most importantly, living gender differently. For me the wrestlers are symbolic. They express contemporary subjectivity where aspiration and strength are immeasurably blended with vulnerability, and the (often) conflicted desire for belonging – to the family, to society, to the nation. What is the one thing you want most in the world?” I would ask them; “Desh ke liye Medal jitna hai” (I have to win a medal for my country).

For more information on Prarthna Singh’s work check out her website.