Tattoo artist Vikas Malani teaches acid attack victors to spread their wings
Tattoo artist Vikas Malani shares his experience with Riya Pandya on training acid attack victors in tattooing.
His passionate relationship with ink started in his early teens, and since then he has sketched an empire out of tattoo art, a field he has been ruling for over 10 years. India’s most celebrated tattoo artist Vikas Malani is now on a course to empower women in a way that helps them etch their identity in society. He recently collaborated with the Chhanv Foundation, a support and rehabilitation centre for acid attack survivors, and conducted a workshop at Body Canvas Tattoo Studio in Hauz Khas Village, Delhi.
We caught up with the artist and got him to share his journey and experience with Chhanv...
ON HIS INSPIRATON
Vikas says, “My mother was an artist at heart. She has been my inspiration in everything I’ve done. She told me that in India, when we talk about equality, it should commensurate with a person’s experience, knowledge and skills. Even though women are more sincere and dedicated to their work than men, they are never given the credit or recognition they deserve. Which is why we believe in doing a lot of projects to empower women; and this time we wanted to do something special, like breaking a social stigma.
“Ironically, though tattoo art is one of the most ancient arts of India, it is still considered a taboo area for women and people can only imagine men doing tattoo work. I want to bring a change here and create a substantially strong place for women in the commercial market.”
ON COLLABORATING WITH CHHANV
“It is pretty surprising, but 90% of my clients are women. They come in with this energy and vibe that makes the air around them so positive! These women acid attack victors especially have been through a rough past and hardly receive acceptance from society, leave alone recognition. I realized this when one day I stumbled upon a picture of Laxmi. I read her inspiring story and came to know that there are several women like her who have stood up, brushing off their ill-fate so seamlessly.
“I was so inspired by them; I knew they all had immense talent and aptitude, and with proper guidance, they could find their forte and polish it. I believe that it is very important to express yourself and there is no better medicine
“I believe that it is very important to express yourself and there is no better medicine than practising art.”
“I want to bring a change and create a strong place for women in the commercial market.”
than practising art. That was the idea behind teaching them tattoo art; I want to provide them with a medium through which they can express themselves and build their future through it.”
ABOUT THE WORKSHOP
“When the five fighters - Laxmi, Ritu, Soniya, Madhu and Roopa - walked into the studio, they were so full of life and starry-eyed at the thought of learning something new, that the air around the studio felt alive! We gelled so well that they even got themselves tattooed and tried their hand at different equipment and colours. We chatted and learnt so much from each other that 12 hours later when they left the studio, all pumped up, we knew we had been successful in our little attempt to make them feel confident.”
Tattoo artist Vikas Malani (centre) with acid attack victors