Meera Sethi is Toronto based visual artist; her artwork explores relationships between, migration, diaspora, fashion and identity. Her project “Upping The Aunty” celebrates the style of South Asian women.
“Upping the Aunty is a three-part project that combines paintings, street style photographs and an adult colouring book to explore the iconic “South Asian Aunty”; her personal style and her unique role in our lives
The project is an example of transnational, diasporic cultural production that pays homage to the fabulousness of aunty style and her role in changing, shaping and performing social and cultural knowledge. Upping the Aunty challenges dominant, Eurocentric narratives of feminized immigrant and diasporic communities, national identity, street style and popular fashion.
In South Asian culture, an aunty may or may not be a biological relation. She may be a friend of the family or a stranger. But if she is close to your parents’ generation, then she is accorded the status of aunty. Neither our mothers nor part of our peer group, aunties may be trusted confidantes or gatekeepers of social decorum.” – Meera Sethi
“Poonam Aunty coordinates the colour on her wristwatch interchangeable ring with her churidar salwar and multi-panelled chuni. A custom-tailored kurta brings together ambis, roses and Facebook insignias. Her wedge heels and single silver anklet with matching toe ring offer her best foot forward.”
“Ramvati aunty carries an iconic nylon reusable shopping bag to round off her casual Sunday farmers market look. She wears freshly picked flowers in her hair with a matching barrette and a South-Indian pierced wooden comb hung delicately across her neck under a golden mangalsutra and a large money necklace.”
“Pretty Aunty rocks Punjabi floral semi-patialas, a Mugal-inspired block-printed kurta with Hawaii platform chappels and a 6IX snapback. Her colour choices are bold and reckless suggesting a fearless give-no-fucks attitude.”
“Pinky Aunty kicks ass with powder pink Bata Power sneakers paired with Hiroshige-inspired Japanese sport-styled patiala salwar. She tops this with a rose garden floral kameez and contemporary-chic diamond-patterned chuni. Large rocks on her fingers, branded Versace-look sunglasses perched above her NY Yankees visor round off her urban flair.”
“Gunalaxsmi Aunty wears a wide-brimed floral lined sun hat with a Hawaii’n bordered striped sari with bhandani pallu. Her antique silver jewellery and flower of life pendant suggest a well-rounded intellectualism. “
“Joyce Aunty takes sport casual to the next level. She combines sensible walking flats with Adidas-like crisp white socks, a complimentary terrycloth wristband and a convenient fanny pack in bright florals. Her skirt embellished with mirror work, delicate lace t-shirt piping and camouflage vest let us know that she is not afraid of confidently crafting her own style.”
“Viji Aunty wears a studded biker jacket with matching clutch. Her fuchsia leopard print blouse successfully contrasts with the multi-patterned sari hand-embroidered with gold-threaded polka dots. She tops it off with aviators and a cap that makes a statement in kitschy Camp.”
“Rashida Aunty wears a delicate hand-embroidered rida with lace and Mukesh work throughout. The contrasting striped pardi is folded away from the face. She pulls the outfit together with lightweight Adidas slippers and white sport socks for cooler days.”