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Social media is also a wonderful way to discover new perspectives and interact with people who aren't in our echo chambers. Pixabay

“It’s important for me as a person to comment on social and political issues. Social media is a powerful tool to project my opinions into the world. It is also a great place to find alternate points of view and to engage with people outside of our echo chambers. My tool is drawing, so that is what I use to express myself,” says artist Ikroop Sandhu, whose illustration, re-imagining painter Amrita Shergill’s famous ‘Three Girls’ to mark Woman’s Day during the ongoing farmers’ agitation went viral.

This BA (Philosophy) graduate from LSR in New Delhi, who later did a course in animation from Vancouver has been following the farmers’ protest ever since BKU (Ugrahan) set up a morcha.


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“Initially I was an observer, but as things progressed, a friend of mine – Sangeet Toor set up a women-led publication called ‘Karti-Dhatri’. She asked if I could make an illustration for their first issue. That got the wheels of my mind turning. I had been thinking about the contrasting images of women farmers astride tractors from this protest versus their docile depiction in paintings, films, and literature. In fact, women farmers are largely invisible and categorized as rural women while their active role as farmers is overlooked even today.

“Amrita Shergill’s beautiful and melancholic painting of three women came to mind, and I wondered if I could use them as a visual quote in the current dialogue around the representation of women farmers. That is how the illustration came about. It was printed for the Women’s Day celebration instead, and filmmaker Gurvinder Singh designed the poster. It was a spontaneous collaboration,” she remembers.


Art is an exercise in observation whether one is painting a landscape, drawing a political cartoon, or making a film. Pixabay

Talking about artists’ relationships with protest sites, especially as seen during the CAA-NRC protests and the ongoing farmers’ agitation, Sandhu feels that art is an exercise in observation whether one is painting a landscape, drawing a political cartoon, or making a film. That this keenness to observe emerges from curiosity. “It could be that artists are curious people or that curious people become artists. Protest sites with their continual improvisations and diversity of engagement are like a Petri dish for a curious mind. So it makes sense as to why young and old creative people would want to participate and study this human experiment.”

ALSO READ: Social Media Remains A Powerful Weapon Of Publicity

The artist, who moved to Dharamshala from Delhi just before the lockdown is quite optimistic about the future of graphic novels in the country.

“We are seeing a plethora of independent publishers who are putting out high-quality visual work. As comics go digital, more experimental and interactive work from Indian creators will emerge. I am optimistic about this ever-growing readership and the shifts in visual mediums,” she says. (IANS/KB)


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IANS

The aim of the book is to teach children that families can exist in different forms, and show them how to accept the diversity in family backgrounds.

By Siddhi Jain

Delhi-based author Pritisha Borthakur is set to release her new book, 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories'. The 1,404-word children's book was put together to address a new kind of societal debacle in the family system. The author says the aim is to teach children that families can exist in different forms, and show them how to accept the diversity in family backgrounds.

The author who named the book after her twin sons -- Puhor and Niyor -- is a parent who has seen and heard the tales of ridicule and discrimination suffered by many in India and beyond. She says the book is an artistic illustration for kids that details how different families can live and coexist. Whether it's children with two dads or two moms, children with a single dad or single mom, and even multiracial family units, Borthakur's book teaches love, understanding, and compassion towards unconventional families.

Beyond race, gender, color, and ethnicity which have formed the bases for discrimination since the beginning of time, this book aims to bring to light a largely ignored issue. For so long, single parents have been treated like a taboo without any attempt to understand their situations; no one really cares how or why one's marriage ended but just wants to treat single parents as villains simply for choosing happiness and loving their children.

Homosexual parents, a relatively new family system, is another form that has suffered hate and discrimination for many years. Pritisha emphasizes the need to understand that diversity in people and family is what makes the world beautiful and colourful. 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories' is a firm but compassionate statement against all forms of discrimination on the bases of sexual identity, gender, race, and even differences in background

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