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5 digital artists on disrupting social conditioning

Cosmo turns the spotlight on illustrators whose thought-provoking artworks demand that you question the norms.

If it's art, it should be thought-provoking. It should make you think, wonder and be forced to dive deeper into your own self. Art is amazing but it's even better when it makes a statement and these digital artists are ensuring theirs do. Check them out,

Ayush Karla  ( @ayushkarla )


“My illustrated series called Log Kya Kahenge x Didi, explores common prejudices that women face every day. My art can be seen as feminist, because it helps women display their pains, frustrations, and passions. I am not afraid to create uncomfortable artworks that challenge society, as, through them, I like to shed light on the patriarchy that surrounds us in Indian society. My motive is to change people’s perceptions by ridiculing society for its primitive opinions. My art takes a jibe at important issues through unfiltered images with a modern twist. Opinions are important, because they bring about new ideas and change. It is not enough to just have a strong opinion about something, it is also crucial to share them. And I do just that through my illustrations.”

Indu Harikumar ( @induviduality )


“This illustration is part of my project called Notes To My Lovers, which asked people to share what they wanted to tell their lovers. This series is very close to my heart as it helped me understand different forms of love, and how they are expressed. For example, a reader shared how she was shamed for small breasts. The story resonated with me because, I, too, was called names like kaadi (stick, in Marathi) and skeleton for my lean physique. I have not only had to endure nasty comments from strangers, but even my own friends dismissed my body. Well-meaning relatives have said hurtful things like, ‘What will you offer your husband? You don’t have fat in both places.’ Shame along with constant nastiness makes us believe we don’t belong in this society. This is why I illustrate, because my artworks make me feel less lonely... And they remind me that I am not the only one struggling with body shaming.”

Sonaksha ( @sonaksha )


“As a fat person living in a world that continues to oppress people with bigger bodies, an important part of my work involves changing people’s perceptions about us, allowing them to view our bodies with dignity, pride, love, care, tenderness, and kindness. People use the word ‘fat’ like it is a bad thing, and mainstream media is a huge part of the problem—bigger bodies are often portrayed with a mocking undertone. The body positivity movement was started by fat people, but it has been watered down into versions that exclude most of us. We should be the protagonists. And that’s why I use art as a platform to affirm my fat body. To remind myself and the world that we are here, we are fat, and we deserve to exist as we are.

Vidushi Yadav ( @vidushiy )


“The world we live in is designed for the able-bodied, and that is one of the major reasons why we never focus on the challenges and trauma experienced by disabled people. They are all around us and everyone needs to know about their inspirational stories of resilience and courage. This illustration symbolises a world where differently-abled people exist gloriously. I consciously intend to tell their stories and stand my ground for their rights...because every voice adds to the collective consciousness of our society

Anirban Ghosh  ( @ anirban_ghosh )


“This illustration is inspired by Manoroma, who was born in the Mehsana district of Gujarat—I met her when I was a student at NID, Ahmedabad. Her journey as a trans person helped me understand the intersectionality between gender, sexuality, religion, and class. Manorama is a part of a series called Polaroids Of Pride, which was published by Penguin in an anthology called Longform Vol. 2. It includes illustrations of the people I have met over the years. I try to highlight stories from our community through my work, and documenting these stories not only helps me accept my sexuality, but also celebrates others who are just like me. I have stood up against homophobia and transphobia from an early age...the truth is, we don’t live in an ideal world. And that’s why it is imperative to voice your opinion and build alliances that help us find a common ground for solidarity.”