With the recent denouncement of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, the country’s LGBTQIA community has found itself at the centre of a new conversation. But the fight for equal rights and opportunities doesn’t stop here. It’s a long and arduous journey to legalising marriage between two consenting adults and also towards finding social acceptance.
An important part of this journey is to cultivate a culture around the community, that celebrates diverse identities and cements a place in mainstream cultural discourse. Through art — especially graphic and digital — a multitude of artists are displaying their need and want to be understood.
We pick out a new set of aesthetes who’re expressing their pride on their sleeve — and Instagram feed.
User Interface (UX) designer and illustrator who studied at NID, Anirban Ghosh’s works are a minimal combination of clean design, fluid typography and vivid colours. He tries to capture the LGBTQIA community inclusively, through portraits of its many members and their stories of liberation and love.
The design student’s art are simple and personal tales, which traverse themes of sexuality, queer identity, body politics and mental health. Long and abstract lines convolute to form figures telling themselves to be ‘kinder to oneself’. Her work makes your question the social boxes that heteronormativity has created, and how its effects are not just harmful to the queer community.
Apart from being an illustrator and graphic designer, Susarla is also a comic artist. Her style of work is versatile and ranges between minimalist graphics to detailed sketches and drawings with an aim to make viewers aware about the socio-political ramifications of being an LGBTQIA individual, amongst ideas of personal space and feminism. Some of the recent projects she’s worked on are campaign covers about, ‘A queer person’s guide to accessing rights’, a policy brief on Trans rights in India and International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT)
A graduate from Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Dali — she likes to go by her last name since she likes Salvador Dali’s work — was curious about sex during the latter half of her college life. Like most Indian children grow up “discovering” this part of adult life by themselves, as did she since she couldn’t avoid it forever, but with little satisfaction. So, she decided to start a blog of her own, ‘स se SEX’, enlightening others about sex and sexuality through cute doodles. Identifying as queer, Dali documented her process of coming out and realisation through her fictional zine, “I wanted to be the man of the house”.
Queer King Of Diamonds
Going by the pseudonym, this graphic artist uses minimal shapes but striking — often NSFW — imagery to portray love between homosexual men. Geometric shapes define the style of the designer, as they humour sex and sexuality through a spectrum of adorable to seductive graphics.
Pursuing his education from NID, Ghatge’s work draws from poetic whimsy of themes ranging from Mumbai’s Monsoon and female empowerment and ideals of love, sex and longing. There’s a psychedelic edge to his art, blurring the lines between reality and imagination.
Writer and cartoonist, Biswas’s works demystify myths about sexuality and mental health issues. A style that borders on Japanese Manga-like artistry, her art will often be found finding solace in the gender-bending beauty that was David Bowie and other pop-culture cults, such as Star Wars.
Shekhar pairs his minimal style with themes of pride and pop culture. From an interest in art-house films such as Susperia to ‘queering’ child cartoon icons such Doraemon, Shekhar brings out the LGBT agenda through the vibrant use of colours.
There’s a dream-like quality to Veer Misra’s art, with their smooth renditions and indistinct lines. Apart from fashion illustrations, he explores the idea of bodies and sexuality through a queer lens, without any inhibitions or shame.
This article was first published here.