Amma Is Speaking, a hilarious new blog on Tumblr, is Deepanjana Pal's way of having fun with Indian art and puncture the super serious zorb in which artists like Ravi Varma are usually seen.
Ages ago, I'd written a book on Ravi Varma and around that time, I started captioning the paintings primarily because the simpering, coy look on most of Varma's women characters annoyed the bejesus out of me. A friend of mine reminded me of them recently and another friend suggested I put the captioned images up on Tumblr.
I'm a feminist so feminism is bound to pop up in my captions. Some, like Judith and the breast exam, might be more obviously 'girl power', but I think most of them are about reworking the power balance between the (male) artist and his subjects. The fact that the women are talking back and that I'm reimagining their scenarios in a way that gives them agency makes most of these feminist to my mind, even if the captions aren't obvious slogans.
The original imagines this women as someone heartbroken by a love letter (because god forbid a woman's thoughts revolve around anything but a man). So yes, fun, feminist commentary is what I'm aiming for.