I am very excited to introduce my involvement in the Priya’s Shakti project created by Ram Devineni. Mr. Devineni is a New York based filmmaker/producer and founder of Rattapallax. Mr. Devineni has created a comic book superhero, Priya, and is in the midst of a global campaign raising awareness about women’s empowerment issues and gender-based violence. The genesis of the story is in India and the signature image of the campaign and comic book series is of a young village girl, Priya, riding a Bengal Tiger (her Shakti, or source of empowerment).
My involvement in the project started after hearing an interview with Ram on CBC Radio. I was very moved by the story and the Priya campaign. I contacted Ram and suggested that a bronze statue of the campaign’s signature image – Priya sitting on the Bengal Tiger - would serve as a very permanent tribute to the Priya Movement and help to keep the level of awareness around gender based violence high. A new project was born.
The first phase of my involvement in the project was to create a 1/3 sized bronze maquette of Priya’s Shakti. In preparing to undertake the sculpture work I started searching for imagery of Bengal Tigers and stumbled across the Lions Gate Sanctuary in Colorado that provides a home to eight beautiful tigers. I contact the owner explaining the nature of the project and asked for detailed measurements and photographs of Bengal Tigers to assist with the project. Coincidentally it turns out that the owner of the sanctuary, Dr. Joan Laub, is an old high school friend of mine from 1972 who has now devoted her live to the animal sanctuary and tigers, as well as her professional practice running a Trauma Centre for sexually abused women. Serendipitous connections.
The first phase of the sculpture project is now complete and the bronze maquette will be displayed in an exciting interactive show with works by multiple artists focusing on the Priya movement at the City Lore Gallery in New York City opening May 7th and running for three months.
The next phase of the sculpture project will be to finalize details of the installation site, raise project funds and then start on the life-sized sculpture.