I sat on my chair with my easel in front of me, the nude model standing in the middle of the class... The card on my easel blocked out the model partially... or purposely...
I was in a situation where I didn't know where to look. Too ashamed to look at a completely nude woman (my culture and upbringing being very conservative), I was embarrassed...
My aunt, who is a fashion designer and professor at NIFT in India, had taught me how to draw a basic figure of a mannequin when I was little.... and not looking at the model standing in front of me, that is what I was drawing... a tall, slim figure of a mannequin, not the beauty in front of me.
"Amber! Regarde la modele devant toi... regarde sa forme! qu'est qu'elle est belle!!" said Francoise, my professor/director of my school. She was asking me to 'look' at the model, appreciate her form, and find beauty in nudity, something that was the complete opposite of what I was taught in my culture, where the beauty of a woman is protected, cherished and nurtured, not displayed for all to see.
But this was a change I had to accept. I was in Art school. This was a subject I had to take. And eventually, I did start to appreciate the beauty of the human form.... And now I can say with surety - We truly are Allah's most beautiful creations. Whether fat or thin, dark or fair, freckled or smooth alabaster, I have seen and learned to find and appreciate physical beauty in spite of all its flaws and learned to praise our Creator even more.
(Paintings have been removed)
Toulouse Lautrec, a French painter from the early 1900's was known for painting crowds and scenes of exciting Parisian night life. The 'Can- can' dancers from the Moulin Rouge were his favorite ladies and our model that day was dressed like one - a long white 'jupon', a black corset, fishnet stockings, gloves, aa feather boa and flaming red hair! She was an absolute pleasure to paint!
This work by Ambereena Razvi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.