Somebody, somebody is remembering me


i am the only specimen of my kind
partly because i am half Indian

i have witnessed the whole Renaissance
falling at the feet of Ajanta
(the frescoes are 1300 years old!)

give me painters who refuse
to swallow Western and Indian tradition
with wide open mouths, who achieve
a vital, vibrant, unctuous texture


i am against:
(a) retreat from the beautifully untidy
(b) cheap emotional appeal conjured from myth

yet a female Hercules can dazzle
composing the figure of her landscape
in pungent icecreamy unearthly
colour (veils slip away)—

burgundy passion and tiredness
fluorescent pink rage and hunger


i have always painted—

face body upper portion skirt hair
sea baskets red verandah reflections
breasts bangles bare feet camels

Spanish girls Hungarian Gypsy girls
Marathi women green bottle and apples
the exaggerated downward slant of the shore
still lifes (i am homesick for India)

i have always painted—

ideas (i am always in love)
i plead guilty!

Fleur Lyamuya Beaupert


Fleur Lyamuya Beaupert (she/they) is a queer poet, writer and researcher living on unceded Gadigal land (Sydney, Australia), whose writing explores themes of dislocation, diaspora, belonging and intimacy. Fleur’s work has been published in Speculative City, Rigorous, Social Alternatives, 404 Ink Literary Magazine and Cordite Poetry Review, among others.

Note: This poem adapts words written by the painter Amrita Sher-Gil, collected in Vivan Sundaram (ed.), Amrita Sher-Gil: A self portrait in letters & writings (Tulika Books, 2010) vols 1 and 2. Born in Budapest in 1912, Ms Sher-Gil’s father was Indian and she had Hungarian Jewish, French and German ancestry on her mother’s side. Ms Sher-Gil died suddenly at the age of 28 in Lahore, having lived a rich artistic life in India, Hungary and France. Some phrases used in section 3 reflect titles of Ms Sher-Gil’s paintings. Her painting Child Wife (1936) has informed section 2. The title comes from an untitled poem sent to a friend in 1934.

© 2021