In 2015, Delhi-based Kaanchi Chopra decided to put her skills as an artist to some good use, and set forth to address pressing global issues with her stack of crayons. The 17-year old, who calls herself an ‘artivist’, started an art blog to spread awareness about the current problems and issues faced by Indians, ranging from the obsession with light skin colour to acid attacks to fat shaming. Her idea was to raise awareness, while also growing as an artist.
Chopra has had no professional training as an artist, and she simply, as she puts it, "doodles" down on paper her perspective of an issue when she comes across it.
“I believe drawing has the ability to do what the human eye can’t,” she told HuffPost India. “I have always felt that visual imagery and graphics have this everlasting impact on the minds and hearts of its viewers.”
Chopra was proven right when, according to her, her blog received over 7,000 views in 55 different countries. Her work on acid attack victims (featured below) has caught the attention of organisations such as Stop Acid Attacks, Make Love Not Scars and Sheroes Hangout, and garnered a lot of positive reaction. Inspired and spurred all the good feedback, she is currently working on a graphic novel. “It's a series of comics which represent the various prejudices and injustices women face in India, like pay discrimination, eve teasing, domestic abuse, and sexual harassment,” she said.
Check out her powerful illustrations with excerpts from each blog below:
PERIODIC TABLE OF 90 GLOBAL ISSUES
As I flipped through the pages of this chapter trying to decipher the meaning of the title, a flashback to Grade 10 suddenly reminded me of the Periodic Table. How we used to make numerous mnemonics to memorize the Alkali metals, Alkaline Earth metals, Halogens, Noble gases and Transitional metals.
In this entire rote learning process, I found something different and probably something as meaningful as those elements. I realized that each and every symbol of the elements in the Periodic Table was an acronym of a global issue. It could be expanded to form a word which represented one of humanity’s vices. A few words in this table also represent the various movements and social issues which have gained a lot of attention in recent times. Read more.
SCARS (OF ACID ATTACK VICTIMS) ARE BEAUTIFUL
In my opinion, scars and bruises on the bodies of the survivors should not be a sight of pity. These marks should be considered beautiful. Victims should not feel insecure about their appearance but should sense a feeling of pride because they were strong enough to survive the inhumane incident.
I’ve doodled the various parts which are disfigured because these floral patterns beautify their face and soul. Their marks, scars and bruises are nothing but doodles on their bodies – an everlasting impression of their courage and strength. Read more.
TAKE PRIDE IN PERIODS
I recently made this drawing for Menstrupedia. I suggest everyone one of you who is reading this post to read their comic – a friendly guide to periods for girls and share it with your younger siblings and friends.
We need to realize the fact that the change needs to start from within. We have to take pride in this natural process and not consider it as ‘unclean’ or ‘gross’. If a nosebleed or scar isn’t gross, then period blood cannot be objectively gross. We must tackle these taboos and educate ourselves and others on shame-free menstruation talk, and break the cycle of secrecy, fear and misinformation about menstruation. Read More.
BROWN AND PROUD
These clever words imbibed a sense of oneness in me. Discrimination is a violation of human rights and must not go unchallenged. I’ve grown up dark-skinned in a colour-conscious land and like many others, I’ve have often faced colour discrimination. I made this drawing on the occasion of Zero Discrimination Day to spread and support diversity, tolerance and inclusion. Read more.
The various reasons why people of my age are targeted are because we’re too young to realise what’s right or wrong for our health, we’re so easily influenced by celebrities and media, we overthink about other people’s judgements about us and many of us don’t even understand what’s incorrect in saying “You aren’t fat, you’re beautiful.”
Let us make each other realise that fat, tall, short, thin are not insults but just characteristics. A number on the weighing machine cannot determine our worth. Losing weight is not our life’s work and counting calories is not the call of our soul. Read more.
MULTIPLE PERSONALITY DISORDER
Multiple Personality Disorder is a mental disorder on the dissociative spectrum characterized by the appearance of at least two distinct and relatively enduring identities or dissociated personality states that alternately control a person’s behavior, accompanied by memory impairment. Read more.
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