Feature - Not Sari

Pranavi's art speaks for itself. I think that's what draw me to her and her work, and why I drew so many similarities with myself. Further, she's a voice for others; most importantly the South Asian teenager, one that is often misrepresented (if ever ) in pop culture.

Here's this week's editorial with Not Sari.  

- Love, Taha. 

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What about South Asian culture inspires you? 

What inspires me artistically about South Asian or Desi culture is really the subtle nuances and experiences that are shared amongst so many people of different backgrounds. Whether it's sayings you grow up hearing, mannerisms, or even a favourite food, it’s really unique and somewhat comforting to know other people have shared your experience. 

A lot of your themes and concepts bring light towards issues faced by South Asian teenagers growing up in Western culture.

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What pushed you to become the voice of this culture?

I mean outside of the fact that we experienced some pretty funny obstacles growing up, I think its nice to reconcile our experience as South Asian teens as just another normal teenage experience. Growing up we obviously didn’t see our experiences portrayed in media, so to be able to create work that represents that is really fun and rewarding.  

What do you hope to accomplish for those that are a part of your community? 

I hope to empower my community to own their identity in whatever way feels most authentic to them. And hopefully to inspire younger generations to do the same earlier on in life. 


Is it necessary to carry a message in art and creativity?

I don’t think it’s necessary to carry a message in art, just like how i don’t feel tattoos need a deeper meaning outside of looking cool. Aesthetically pleasing things are nice to look at, and that's great!  But in the same breath, having a message can really transform art through its potential to change perspective, emotion, understandings and so much more.

What role does emotion play in art? 

I think emotion is huge in art. I mean generally making art is an emotional process overall,  whether its during the idea stage, creation or feedback stages. Even thinking of my work, I get so excited when people see my work at shows and feel seen and represented.  


What South Asian artists inspire you?

I am definitely constantly inspired by the artist Nimisha Bhanot. Her paintings are so incredible to see (especially in person) - whether its the details, concept and/or sheer skill behind them; her body of work is on another level. And outside her work, as an artist her commitment to building community, empowering South Asian people above all makes her truly inspirational.  

Contemporary artists?

I really love the work of Toronto based artist Ness Lee in the contemporary space. Her work embodies this sort of feeling of tranquility, it’s hard to explain. But her work is really something special.  


What adversity did you face with your family whilst pursuing art?

Initially like most south asian parents not at all. My sister and a close friend were probably the only people that supported my creative pursuits (especially after dropping out of business school). It was tough at times, but I do really empathize with my parents’ perspective. 

Honestly in the face of adversity I just hustled till I got to where I wanted to be; whether it was a job in my field, starting my own brand or becoming fully independent. Looking at adversity as an opportunity rather than a barrier was key for me. I just sucked it up and did the work so that I could get myself onto the path I wanted to be on.  My core support system is mainly my best friends, they support me unconditionally and always keep it real.


What parallels do you draw between yourself and loveclosely

After meeting Taha, I think I really vibed with his goal of creating with purpose and meaning. Not all brands prioritize this so its cool to see other likeminded creators working with purpose outside of being trendy. 

What about loveclosely resonates with you?

I really love how the brand combines culture with street style. Though I don’t speak arabic, the arabic elective I took way back really showed me how complex and beautiful the language is - and I think translating that into clothing with meaning is so powerful. As an artist that merges culture with my art work I totally connect with what their trying to do. 

Taha Yousuf