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The Canvas of Hope

Cosmo shifts the focus on illustrators who are initiating conversations around mental health by using art to create awareness.   

Pranita Kocharekar (@pranitart)

“As a child, I used to draw on the walls at home, as a mode of expression. My family encouraged me because they were all artists, too. However, a few years down the line, I experienced a burnout while working in the creative industry. There was little time and space for creativity, which led to disinterest...and later found my solace in therapy. Describing my emotions in words was tough, so I’d use visual analogies to convey pent-up feelings to my therapist. Finally, I understood the importance of professional and personal boundaries. Art instills the hope in me that someday it will nudge more people to get help professionally.”

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Harshit Manocha (@molabacha)

“Before the pandemic, I had already relocated to three different cities over the course of six years. Once COVID-19 struck, I returned to Delhi, my home. With a change in my environment, I could no longer vocalise my feelings, and ‘art journaling’ soon became my escape. I’d sit with my art supplies every morning and go Live on Instagram to share my journal entries...and how I felt. Post my session, people would reach out to me sharing snippets of what they had created alongside. This led to the birth of the Art Journalling Course. It is a 10-day course, with a batch of 15 people. We organise a quick, virtual get-together and share our feelings, while listening to each other with intent (a rule of utmost essence).”

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Rahil Mohsin (@rahil_mohsin)

“I draw comics not only for a living, but also as a way to cope. Art, for me, has always been a strong medium to convey my message. With uncertainty making its way into our lives in 2020, I started working on a collaboration with DLC Anxiety Worldwide Community. They wanted to share information related to mental health in the form of comics. While it was a tiny contribution, the effort, in hindsight, helped many arrive at a safe space. The inspiration for these comics came at a time when I was paranoid and living alone with my cat, Courage. And suddenly, sharing my life became relatable to many, and I ended up getting featured on WikiHow.”

 

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Mounica Tata (@doodleodrama)

“When creating art, my intention is not to entertain the audience. I want to share the most intimate part of myself. This way, we can have an open dialogue. Art is a wonderful medium to talk about issues because it transcends the barrier of language. Being able to translate my thoughts onto a canvas is indeed cathartic. I don’t think we have enough conversations around mental health. They fade away after a while because we do not normalise them. My aim is to create a safe space and break down the narrative. I hope there comes a day when my art leads to a conversation at the dining table.”

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Sonaksha (@sonaksha)

“For me, art began as a way to process and document my own mental health. Slowly, it meandered into every aspect of my life. I now work as an full-time illustrator and designer, and I am grateful for the opportunity. While art is work, it is also my escape. I paint on my sketchbook—sans any prompt or brief. It keeps me grounded and reminds me to pause for breath in a world which hasn’t been easy to navigate. On certain days, when I can’t bear to get out of bed, art has been a portal of sorts. It has transformed me because I would spent too much time isolating myself...and it helped me find my own people.”

 

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