If you have logged onto Facebook in the last two days, chances are that you have already seen the illustration we are talking about. In a world obsessed by fair skin, 'Dark and Lovely' is a stunning piece of art that is reigniting the very important discussion around colourism and global beauty standards. The illustration shows a dark-skinned woman holding a tube of a face cream called 'Dark and Lovely' - a powerful image that turns the idea of equating fairness with beauty on its head.
Created by Bangladesh-based artist Waseka Nahar, the digital illustration was inspired by a picture originally clicked by and featuring Zainab Anwar, a Pakistani artist based in Canada.
"Discrimination based on your skin colour is still prevalent. And fairness creams add fuel to the fire," 25-year-old Waseka tells NDTV. "Through my artwork I want to address colourism."
"Zainab's picture symbolises that there is a certain 'stigma' - for lack of a better word - surrounding dark skin. The picture boldly says that dark skin is as beautiful as its counterpart," says Waseka.
The photograph in question was shared by Zainab on Instagram two days ago.
"I took this image in my bedroom by self timing my camera," Zainab tells NDTV. "The social message behind this is specifically directed to the Indian subcontinent which is why I am in traditional attire."
Ask her what inspired her to click the picture and Zainab says: "Growing up I had faced scrutiny for being "dark" and my relatives would give me fairness creams. Thus, I thought of creating a tube with the opposite idea to make people question this whole industry which is promoting so much negativity and ultimately leads to greater issues such as racism."
Since being shared on Facebook, Waseka's illustration has collected over 3,000 'shares', 4,000 'likes' and a lot of love online. "Breaking stereotypes and how!" writes one commenter. "Embrace your melanin," says another.
Both women tell NDTV that they are glad their collaborative artwork is opening up discussions.
"The newer generation is more aware and is fed up of illogical beauty standards. I knew there would be support from the younger generation," says Zainab.
"I am truly speechless. I'm glad this has gone viral because now we can open up a conversation about acceptance and loving yourself as you are," concludes Waseka.
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