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Mumbai, India / 2021

Tanaya Saha

An immunologist who chose art over her medical profession

I clearly remember the very first day holding a machine. It was so exciting!

It is not uncommon to see Indian parents questioning their daughter’s ability to earn and become financially independent through art as a profession. Things are gradually changing and improving, however. The problem remains for a vast majority of India that lives outside tier I and tier II cities.


This is the story of Tanaya, a brave 25 year old Mumbaikar who took up immunology as her field of studies due to parental pressure. She studied at National Institute of Immunology in New Delhi where she was completing her PhD. Since publishing research papers takes time, she decided to carve out some time for something she really enjoyed as a kid but was never encouraged to continue beyond what was required at that time. Tanaya had learnt the basics of drawing and sketching as a kid in school.

When Covid-19 hit and when everyone was forced to sit at home, she thought of returning to her artistic self. She remembered her struggle when she wanted to get inked, but was not pleased with her experience and felt that she could do much better. She wanted another tattoo, but this time, she decided to learn the art herself.

That led to Tanaya joining the August 2021 batch of the famous six-month course of Aliens Tattoo Art School after clearing her schedule of academic responsibilities.

Making that decision was one of the two toughest parts of her journey of becoming a professional tattoo artist. Like anyone in her place would, Tanaya too felt nervous and skeptical of her abilities, especially about ever being able to make portraits and realism.