Taran Kaur Dhillon aka HARD KAUR 

Hard Kaur - not your starlet, not your victim

In 2006, I completed my first series, When Honour Kills, around gender-based violence in my community.

Now, 10 years later, as gender-based violence continues to dominate the headlines, I am revisiting narrative work based around gender justice with a new project, HARD KAUR - not your starlet, not your victim. The title is a play on words, with "KAUR," a typical middle name assigned to Sikh females at birth, replacing "CORE" in the term "hard core," while retaining the same meaning. The series' subtitle refers to stereotypes of South Asian women as either coy Bollywood starlets (objects of desire) or victims of gender-based violence (objects of pity). 

HARD KAUR will profile women from India's past and present who have taken up space to achieve extraordinary (albeit sometimes controversial) things, despite having been born into a culture of systemic gender inequity, oppression and violence. These women are role models, pioneers, trailblazers, vigilantes, rebels.

Hard Kaur Studies
6" x 9"
Ink on Paper

Related Links


Elisa Paloschi's documentary about Selvi, a former Indian child bride, who escaped an abusive marriage to become an independent female taxi driver.


Caution : Graphic Content

Leslee Udwin's documentary about Jyoti Singh, the young woman whose brutal gang rape and subsequent death sparked the outrage of a nation and made headlines around the world. 


A new superhero has arisen in India in the wake of the brutal gang rape on a Delhi bus two years ago: Priya, a mortal woman who is raped herself, but who fights back against sexual violence with the help of the goddess Parvati – and a tiger. – the Guardian


BBC Political journalist Anita Anand tells the story of Sophia Duleep Singh, forgotten suffragette descended from Sikh royalty.