A Suitable Girl by Tania Sen

Depicting Her Essence

Painting is a process of transforming, protecting and sprucing up the surface of a canvas, a fence or a wall.  The process of henna however is that of giving or making. It is much like baking. Also perhaps the making of organic fuel of cow patties that are slapped on a vertical surface such as an exterior wall, in neat rows, to dry in the sun. The purpose of henna or baking unlike painting is creating something for consumption. Or something with an application, namely beautification of the body.  These works all use henna as a medium and tell a story about women.

If the market value of a bride could be determined, it would include the services that she has the potential to provide. The ability to do housework, inheritance/dowry (property or money brought by a bride to her husband on their marriage). It might also be in the form of a salary she draws which may eventually go towards the household.

“Average height”, “medium complexion” are adjectives often used to describe a girl with relatively modest appearance in classified ads for girls of marriageable age. Much like ads for girls of marriageable age on online forums today.  Depicting Her Essence encompasses an understanding that the spirit of a person supersedes her physical attributes, much like a light that a person carries within herself irrespective of her social standing.

Studio Montclair showed appreciation for the Suitable Girl with a prize money and a shoutout in the local media.