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.

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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...


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.”


“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.”


“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

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