A new calendar profiles the differently abled in a way that we’ve never seen them before, and we can’t look away. ‘Rising Above’ shows disability in a new and empowering way, challenging societal stereotypes.
‘Rising Above’ is an initiative by Being You, a project by Preeti Rai, who is the co-founder of the Bangalore-based Mission Smile Foundation which asks people to contribute their talents for philanthropy. Upon meeting blade runner and dancer, Shalini Saraswathi during a photo shoot, Rai remarks in an interview with Bayside Journal that she realized that “amputees are always depicted as inspirations, [but] they have never been portrayed in sexy, beautiful, or bold avatars” and decided to do something about it.
Everyone involved in the project volunteered their time and talent, and with Saraswathi’s help, Rai chose models from around the country to take part. The calendar features award-winning athletes, dancers and ordinary people too, including Vishwas KS (a swimming champion), Kiran Kanojia (India’s first woman blade runner), Manasi Joshi, (a para-badminton player), and Briju Mohan (an IT professional).
Regardless to say, the pictures evocatively express how being an amputee needn’t come at a cost to one’s level of confidence, beauty and style, which at the end of the day, are a manifestation of one’s persona and self-belief.
“I am happy to be portrayed differently. And hopeful of being viewed as not just a disabled woman, but also strong and beautiful” Saraswathi said in an interview with A Sunny Square. “There’s a sense of satisfaction of being part of change.”
For more information on the calendar, visit the Being You Facebook page.
Written by Kerosene Staff
Featured image source: Being You on Facebook