jyotsna shelley

Born in Edmonton, London to a Bihari British mother and an English father from Wolverhampton. A multi- disciplinary artist currently exploring ‘colourism’ inIndianmedia and Indian communities within the UK. A recent graduate of BA (hons) Drawingat Camberwell College of Art, UAL.


‘You look more Spanish than I do.’

‘Are you Egyptian?’

‘You have something in you other than white.’

All these strangers have something to say about who I am and where I come from.

So, I decided to explore ‘Being Biracial’ andthe stereotypical perceptions that follow, through portraiture and intimate discussions.

Extending into film through ‘The White Demon’, I explore the white stereotype. This film is a commentary on the white stereotype from my Father - a man who has experienced, respected and appreciated the Indian culture.

I am currently working on a project called ‘Dashavatar: Every Hero is White’. I was watching Netflix one day and an Indian animated film called, ‘Dashavatar: Every Era has a Hero’ popped up. I began to watch it

and realised, almost immediately, that all the Gods and Goddesses were white with blueeyes and redhair and all the Demons or bad guys were dark skin.


Colourism is a major issue within South Asian communities. Released in 2008 and currently on Netflix, it is incredibly upsetting to know that the thoughts of millions of children and adults are being diluted with this.

Through ‘Dashavatar: Every Hero is White’, I am working on a storyboard of prints which are an interpretation of scenes within the film. I then hope to extend this project through painting and digital art.

future plans

I already have a future art project in the works, which will be based around Krishna and his Gopis. I intend to replace the Gopis with real India women through collage, painting and drawing. Dreaming into the future, I hope to one day curate an exhibition that caters to the misrepresented.

As for now, I have been going to local schools in underprivileged areas to inspire their creative minds and make them aware that there is always an option to do something you are passionate about.