Artist Osheen Siva Explores Her Tamilian Heritage Within A Surreal World

Osheen Siva is reinventing the female image by dipping into the past to propel audiences into a futuristic world


Siva is an artist and illustrator from South India, currently based in Goa, whose eye-catching work exists as large scale murals as well as digital drawings online. Symbolism, culture, and curious mythical tales feed into Siva's ever colourful creations, bringing a bold yet sentimental statement to each image she places in the public sphere.


Exploring themes that are heavily influenced by her environment, Siva pushes the norms of gender, beauty, and feminity by depicting womanhood, fertility, and identity in her own unique, and intriguing style. We asked Siva to share with us some of the ideas that have shaped her art today.




Menstrual Hygiene Day 2020


What purpose does art play in your life and how has your practice changed over time?

Art for me is a means to express my thoughts, decipher my emotions, and discover and connect with my past, present, and future. My practice has always been focused on self-discovery and unraveling the question of identity and belonging. As I have grown as a person, so has my practice expanded its horizon on the depth of the questions.

Your imagery is often otherworldly, fantastical with an edge of grit. What have been your sources of inspiration?

I’ve always been fascinated by parallels between surrealism and escapism. I’m enormously inspired by the unknown, futurism, outer space, dreams, and parallel universes. I’m equally invested in discovering worlds within myself hence my works focus on incorporating feminism, questioning social norms, the construct of beauty, and my Tamilian heritage.



Daily Ladies - South Asian Identity

எதிர்காலம் இப்போது in Tamil (native South Indian language) translates to "future is now.



What is your own relationship with your identity as an Indian Womxn and how does that relate to the figures you show in your work?


I grew up in different places between Taiwan, China, and India constantly shuttling between them and often changing schools and neighborhoods. From early on the notion of displacement and question of identity were quite heavy. My art practice has been a way for me to untangle my past and reconnect with my culture and heritage. The characters in my artworks are inspired by strong women that I’ve had the opportunity to know in my life, the greats that paved the way for where we are now and the young, audacious, fearless woman of the future.


My mural projects are inspired by the specific community that the structure is situated in. I hope that my contribution to the community is uplifting, inspiring, and hopefully representative of the beautiful people that it's surrounded by.


Can you share any personal experiences that have helped shape the narratives you depict in your work?


There hasn’t really been one specific time I could pinpoint, I’ve always been interested in the visual medium from very early on. As a shy kid, when talking and engaging proved to be too hard, sketching and illustrating was always a way out.

After moving to India, the process of reconnecting with my roots and delving deeper into stories I heard as a child -mythologies, specific and unique visual aesthetics and pop culture like comic books and old Tamil films from back home- definitely influence my work now.


The characters in my artworks are inspired by strong women that I’ve had the opportunity to know in my life; the greats that paved the way for where we are now and the young, audacious, fearless woman of the future.



What do you hope for your future?


In general, I hope for the future to be more inclusive and open-minded. In terms of my art practice specifically, I would love to explore more mediums, collaborate with amazing artists out there, and shine a light on more marginal voices.



Visit Osheen Siva's website here and follow her work on IG @osheena.siva

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