Getting inked had always been on her bucket list and finally, on her 39th birthday, Sanjukta Basu knew exactly what she wanted, a sailboat on her forearm encompassed by birds in flight; the etched words “wherever the wind takes me” told something of her life’s achievements which have never been centered around a specific goal. Rather there have been many moments which have given her life meaning and purpose.
Digs deeper into the women behind the ink
“I have been a photographer, writer, teacher, entrepreneur, among other things, and I wanted my body art to reflect that about me,” she says. Having put so much thought behind a small tattoo, she reflected on the mysterious stories that exist behind the tattoos of others and decided to start the project, Women With Tattoos. Based in Delhi, she invited women to share the personal stories behind their body art and also an invitation to be photographed by her. From paying homage to their culture and heritage to overcoming their challenges victoriously, these women all share one thing; all have experienced bias because of their tattoos. Even today, many people think that having a tattoo is completely inappropriate for “serious” professions. Sanjukta says, “It makes you come across as a ‘hippie’, ‘vagabond’, ‘non-serious’, or ‘loose’. I wanted to challenge this kind of gender discrimination faced by women who have decided to get inked and express themselves through body art.”
Challenging the stereotypes behind tattooed women
However, there is one element of surprise in her life, she is a fully trained lawyer, who decided to make the switch to creative fields after a short stint in law; not many people are able to swallow this fact. As a challenger of the status quo, she desires to highlight the stories of women who haven’t been written about and who “have fought tooth and nail to claim their own identities.” For many people who have tattoos, they are a reminder that something beautiful and strong can be born out of painful circumstances. Soon, she plans to release a book out of this project and help crush the taboos around tattoos and tattooed women, since urban women face it the most and seen as lesser women because of their ink.
She further adds, “A man with a tattoo is a stud but a woman with a tattoo is a slut. So, this incongruity that judges women is something I want to address in my series.”
Image credit: Behance, blog.ted.com