Subverting the notions around mainstream art and nuancing conversations around the traditional arts, queer art in India might seem limited to just a few spaces presently. But social media platforms certainly seem to help change this by providing visibility to those from the LGBTQIA+ community. Concepts of gender identity and sexuality are often the underlying inspiration for many a queer artist, from the prolific Mexican artist Frida Kahlo to the American pop artist Keith Haring.
Now in the age of digital art and NFTs, some queer Indian artists too seem to be thriving and sharing their unique expressions with the world with a sense of confidence that never fails to inspire. So presenting some of the promising Instagram profiles from the world of queer art, which we through their individual aesthetics add to our contemporary Indian cultural narrative.
Param Sahib (@parambanana)
This NIFT Bangalore graduate has certainly come a long way on his journey of fierce self-expression, both as a designer and an illustrator. His approach to all things art and fashion is a vibrant riot of colours, accented by provocative thoughts on body positivity, sexuality, identity, tolerance, and much more. With the authentic cultural stylings of a modern Sikh, Param is definitely a voice to reckon with. Plus, this Pride month, he has decided to promote other individuals and businesses of the LGBTQIA+ community on his own Insta handle (aww…a sweet gesture indeed!)
Anwesh Sahoo (@the.effeminare)
Former Mr. Gay World India (2016), TEDx speaker, and visual artist, Anwesh’s art is a seamless blend of binaries and makes one question about the limited and restricted definition of beauty the heteronormative culture breeds. Celebrating gender as a spectrum, his works have a subtle seductive quality to them. Feel free to dive into his Insta curations and discover some of his celeb admirers too.
Queer King of Diamonds 2 (@queerkingofdiamonds2)
It is hard not to fall in love with the ornate creations of this graphic artist, who invokes such feelings of tenderness of his latest depictions of gay artwork. Inspired my Indian mythology, these series strike the ideal balance between the art of story-telling and intimacy. Whoever the individual is behind this pseudonym should be super proud of himself (yes, we checked his pronouns) and even though this is his second Insta profile, more power to him.
Jasjyot Singh Hans (@jasjyotjasjyot)
Exploring the human form with such an abandon, this Delhi-based illustrator has been featured in various noteworthy publications across the globe. His drawings of bold and beautiful Indian women with long plaits are indicative of his Indian roots and familial yearnings. Self-reflective and thought-provoking, we are curious to see what Jasjyot comes up next.
Using her art as a potent tool of activism, Arzoo defines herself as a ‘non-binary femme minding their own business’. Her work often revolves around the annihilation of caste system and patriarchy, along with themes of sexual identity and religious tolerance. Sprinkling her videos and artworks with occasion humour, she definitely has the potential to escalate the Indian queer art scene to a whole new level.