Desi Art: Babbu The Painter

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We caught up with Desi Canadian artist Babbuthepainter, AKA Babneet Paul Lakhesar, and asked her a few questions about her exciting and refreshing artwork. Her comical, tongue in cheek humour has us all entranced especially as she intervenes them into her artwork and pictures on Instagram.


When SANT talked to Babbu, we asked her about the inspiration behind he art.

“I created the persona of Babbuthepainter as a means of expression and critique. My artwork is a journey of self-discovery and introspection. In my practice, I explore gender politics mainly focusing on women within the Indian Religion and Cultural societies. Being a child of an immigrant home, I deconstruct what it is to be part of two worlds in my practice. It is a self-exploratory narrative that focuses on a critical analysis of the role that the traditional South Asian women play in the society they reside in. My artwork often takes critical view of social and cultural issues. Also exploring the shame that first and second generation youth of the South Asian diaspora encounter when they realize that they don’t meet the norms of the “Indian Standard” society. Many times my work is portrayed through narrative photographs generally taken by myself, and the use of myself as the subject is a recurring theme in my practice. My main objective through this work is to place these women on the global sphere and present an introspective look into their world. As an artist, I will explore femininity and sexuality through the essence of 19th century, India”.


So, tell us a bit about yourself, when did you realise you wanted to become an artist?

“My name is Babneet Paul Lakhesar, I was born in India into a Punjabi family. I came to Canada about the age of 6, and since then i’ve been living a dual life. One being at home, and the other being outside in the world. Thus, my practice of using myself as the “other” began. Babbuthepainter was born. I don’t think there was an exact moment that made me realize I wanted to be an artist. During my days at OCAD I enjoyed making my works so much and it felt like it had a purpose of living that I made it my practice; To create and share.”

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Who are your influences? Who or what inspired you the most? How does your roots and culture influence or mould your art?

“Indian culture is my biggest influence, everything from food, to the people, different cultures, art, architecture inspires me to make art, specifically the Mughal Era and the Bollywood industry. It’s had a really big hand as to which direction I take my art in. Mainly its from the beauty that India has to offer.”


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What are your plans for the future, is there anything creative or interesting we should look out for? 

“Plans for the future are just to keep creating and sharing my works with the world. There [are some] really exciting projects I am working on that will come to life later on this year. Currently I’m working on my website which will feature new merchandise! I have my two favourites, Lapel pins and crewneck w/ sweatpants.”


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It’s clear that you’re inspired by old school Bollywood films, what draws you to Bollywood aesthetics and what is your all-time favourite movie? 

“I LOVE Bollywood. Old and new films. It all started from Mughal-e-azam the aesthetic of that film just had me in awe for all my life. From there my love for film just grew. (Mughal-e-azam is my all-time favourite). From the recent years I’ve enjoyed Highway a lot!”

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If you want to check out more of Babbu’s paintings and artwork make sure you follow her Instagram page. You can also buy Babbu’s Bollywood themed merchandise or artwork on Etsy.

Words:  Naseema Khanom

Image Sources:

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