Earlier this year we shared with you a powerful visual art series by Dipti Kulkarni, an artist and software engineer based out New Jersey, originally hailing from India. She is a self-taught artist, who was inspired to create a series of images after hearing about the horrific gang rape of a girl on a bus in Delhi back in 2012, which shocked the world.
Aside from her career in the STEM world, what started as a hobby has now enabled her to become an internationally acclaimed artist with several solo exhibitions in the United States as well as India.
Not one to rest on her laurels, Dipti has written a powerful poem called ‘Save Girl’ which is a continuum of her ‘Women’s Rights and Empowerment’ art series, which focuses on the issue of forced abortion and feticide.
In India it is clear there is still a pervasive and evil cultural attitude which looks at girls as lesser value than men, and statistics show a declining number of girls being born compared to boys, because of feticide, forced abortions as well as abortions being performed by choice simply because a mother found out the baby was a girl.
So it is quite fitting that Dipti’s poem was officially released to the public at a reciting at the Indian Consulate’ Art Exhibit. This poem touched everybody’s heart in the audience. Consul General Mr. Dnyaneshwar Mulay expressed appreciation for the poem as he himself is a poet.
“Dipti’s powerful paintings brought a new life and energy to the Consulate of India in New York. She truly represents the talent of our community in USA. Her exhibition which was seen by a large number of visitors was widely appreciated for its freshness, vibrant colors, themes and style. Through her artworks she is serving our society,” he said.
Dipti believes that the root cause of the women-related social issues is gender discrimination, and as a result the issues like female feticide happen across the globe.
“Poor baby girl! She does not even know if she is going to see the world. What is her fault? Just that she is a girl, her life is in danger before she is born. The irony of life is that it is the mother who has to abort her own female child due to various reasons. Imagine mother’s plight! Visualize her emotional condition!! Alas, poor baby without seeing this world, her life is coming to an end!” Dipti writes about the sentiment behind Save Girl.
So far Dipti has used the power of her painting-art to depict the issues related to women and raised the social awareness. She has expressed deep emotions of a woman, and also given a hope through her paintings. Her art is not just limited to paintings but can be seen in her poetry too.
She says she initially never took her poetry skill seriously. However her visual painting series inspired her to put her feelings into a poem. The very first image in her painting series was actually titled ‘Save Girl’, and it embodies the agonizing and depressing condition of a mother who has to make the difficult decision to abort her girl-child.
Dipti is a mother of twins and did not have much problem in tapping into the emotional expression of this poem, as she remembered those sweet kicks of her own babies when they used to be happy and scared when there was a music or sound.
In this poem, the baby girl child in the womb is trying to talk to her mother. The child in a womb can sense the emotions and feelings of her mother, believes Dipti.
Aside from exhibiting her paintings around the world, Dipti applied for a poetry contest without telling anyone. One day she received an email saying that her poem won the award. She shared the good news with her husband as well as her parents back in India who expressed their pride in what their daughter was doing.
“My parents read this over and over and felt so proud about the fact that I was using my art skills for some good cause. And who ever imagined that words can express so powerfully? My mom was shedding tears when she read this poem one day to her friend. I am happy that people in USA and India are appreciating and acknowledging this poem. I am happy about my message being sent to people. I myself get emotional whenever I am asked to recite this poem,” she said.
“It is funny, the most difficult part about the poem was to make sure the child-mother conversation was lively and as close to the reality as possible,” she added.
“My idea is to use various art forms to raise social awareness. I consider myself as Global citizen and so the poetry is not meant for any specific country or culture or cast or creed or community. But it is for humanity”, she concludes.
Her work is certainly affecting the emotions of those who hear and see it, and will hopefully continue to do so.
“Dipti’s powerful paintings brought a new life and energy to the Consulate of India. She truly represents the talent of our community in USA. Her exhibition which was seen by a large number of visitors was widely appreciated for its freshness, vibrant colors, themes and style. Through her artworks she is serving our society,” said Gauri Shankar Gupta, High Commissioner of India to Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, Dominica, and Montserrat in a statement earlier this year.
We encourage you to read Dipti’s poem, understand the struggle and emotion behind the words, and be empowered to join her in the fight for gender equality.