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This Woman Is Painting Herself Black For 100 Days To Start Conversations About Caste Prejudice

"When people look at a dark-skinned person, they relate it to being from a lower strata of society or as a bad thing."

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Earlier this year, after the suicide of Hyderabad-based student leader Rohith Vemula, she decided to hold a 100-day long protest where she covers herself with grease to fight caste and colour prejudice in India.

Kalakakshi

"After Rohith Vemula's suicide, people have started discussing Dalit issues more openly. When people look at a dark-skinned person, they relate it to being from a lower strata of society or as a bad thing. As a woman, I feel this disparity more than ever," Jaya told BuzzFeed.

"I used to find the attention odd before. But, I see it as a chance to keep the dialogue going on with people around me," says Jaya.

Jaya PS

While painting oneself black – or “blackface” – carries a particular history and connotation in the western world, with similar projects being accused of racism, Jaya’s project aims to draw attention to shadeism and its links to casteism in India.

At the end of her 100 days, she plans to conduct a Bharatnatyam recital covered in grease as well. "We use makeup to look fairer in a performance. Maybe we can change that with my performance," she explained.

Kalakakshi

Once this project is complete, she wishes to work in greater depth with the communities that she has been engaging with for it. Besides this, she also wants to expose LGBT issues and women's issues in the future through her art.

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