Consciously relating to a piece of art is a wonderful feeling. Art is about, in a sense, finding your most deep and vulnerable self reflected so profoundly in a certain medium it leaves a deep mark. Queer artists in India are finding a voice to showcase how they feel, experience and participate in their sexual identity. Through art, they showcase experiences that shape their queerness and by sharing they allow generations to feel at home with their true selves. Here a few prominent Indian artists and illustrators that continue shaping the intersection between art, identity, and culture. :
Dabasmita’s ink-like swooshes drenched in colors bring life to the nuanced experience and nature of growing up and the exploration of the self that subsequently follows. Her illustration talks about her own personal narrative through captured instances of her discoveries about sexuality, gender with sketched flushes of mood and the queer female body. Her iconographic style incites the subject of her art. From outlines of pink vibrant lotuses to a dancing figure with side swept hair; her subjects are always inhabiting a motion. A fourth-year undergraduate student at Srishti Institute of Art, Design, and Technology, Debasmita explores social change through her artwork as well.
II. VEER MISRA
Intimacy as an experience exists on a scale. Veer’s ‘e a s y’ is a series of illustrations that depict, according to him, ‘the cutesy mushy side underneath the hyper-sexualised imagery we’re seemingly surrounded by. This is to show love, every small little hyper detail of it that you feel from your toes to your nose.’ His exploration of identity with dreamy tones of pinks and nudes blossoms with queer acceptance. His illustrative piece ‘queerious’, gorgeously amalgamates mythical creatures, sexuality, and individual discovery as well.
III. ARZOO NAQVI
Arzoo exemplifies the desi Indian girl exploring her queerness through witty and quirky comic- like illustrations. Her queer pieces include comics on bisexuality, the haze of conforming to the gender binary and desi queerness. Arzoo also extensively illustrates about body positivity, mental well-being, and body acceptance.
IV. PRIYA DALI
‘I wanted to be the man of the house’ a fictional comic by Priya was an instant success due to its exploration around stereotypical gender norms and rules. Priya identifies herself as queer and explores this aspect of her life through imaginative and humorous comic strips. Her recent work ‘A mother’s pride’ showcases a mother’s love for her transgender son. With vibrant splashes of contrasting color and intricate detailing, Priya envisions a lovely yet enormous act of love with her art. Her recent blog ‘how I taught myself to talk about sex’ is a satirical and ironic twist on how the taboo nature of sex is failing everyone and explicitly supports sex education.
Opashona Ghosh is an evocative illustrator who through her collection ‘KIN’ and her recent untitled 2019 illustration provides a visual experience of gender and sexuality. Opashona’s uses aspects of sexual fantasy to unearth questions about pleasure. Her almost symmetrical perspective to illustration also conveys messages of feminism and how important it is to offer whole representations of individuality.
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