• Quirk NLS

[Barbie Dreams] Across The Line

This artwork was made by Sumit Nimbekar (who took a different surname Baudh in the calendar year 1998, which is also the year of his graduation from the NLSIU). This is the third piece of our Pride Month series.


Note : Barbie Dreams is in square brackets because it's an insertion much later in time; the original title of this work is Across The Line.


Image of a pencil-sketch of two nude women in embrace, portraying their ecstatic moment of sexual intimacy. One of these women has long curling tresses that are flying in all directions, and the other women has soft long silky straight hair that is cascading down her shoulders, and waist. Both these women are very thin, almost impossible waist sizes, with curvy thighs and shapely bottoms. It would seem yet another illustration of male gaze, and the portrayal of impossible beauty standards—of women’s bodies. It would be less interesting and wholly unworthy of publication in the Quirk magazine if the artist didn’t self-identify as someone who is sexually attracted to male bodies, therefore, turning the idea of male gaze on its head. Nonetheless, the artist has admitted to having made an unrealistic portrayal of women’s bodies in this sketch.

Image description: Image of a pencil-sketch of two nude women in embrace, portraying their ecstatic moment of sexual intimacy. One of these women has long curling tresses that are flying in all directions, and the other women has soft long silky straight hair that is cascading down her shoulders and waist. Both these women are very thin, almost impossible waist sizes, with curvy thighs and shapely bottoms.


This was awarded first prize in a sketching competition at the National Law School of India University (NLSIU, circa. 1996-7), the artist Sumit Baudh (formerly Nimbekar) was joint-convener (or some such position) in the Cultural and Fine Arts Committee of the NLSIU. Ideally, Nimbekar should not have entered the competition because he had chosen the topic: Across The Line. Nimbekar had known what he wanted to do with this topic in advance. Initially conceived with two male bodies in mind, somehow the aesthetics of portraying sexual intimacy between men was unacceptable to Nimbekar. So he turned them into female bodies instead. Nudity and homoeroticity of this piece combined, it was a bit scandalous, yet it had to be displayed on-campus because it had won the first prize. Some of the closeted queers loved it, while a fellow competing artist disapproved. She said sternly, “Sumit, do you know any women with bodies like that?” Touché. Now the artist Sumit Baudh calls this work [Barbie Dreams] Across The Line.


This piece was also self-published on Twitter by the artist (@BaudhSumit) during Pride Month and can be found here: https://twitter.com/baudhsumit/status/1541701733898141696?s=21&t=VxcQGgkCm7thDh23TwOrrw


Sumit Baudh tweets @BaudhSumit

© Sumit Baudh. All rights are reserved. No financial payment is sought nor received. The author Sumit Baudh retains all proprietary rights over the text and the images, and the right to publish this work elsewhere in any other form. Quirk magazine of the NLSIU will take down /delete this piece from their website upon the request of Sumit Baudh, no questions asked, no explanations required.