Illustrative portrayal of LGBT struggles

Illustrative portrayal of LGBT struggles

We think we’re well educated as a generation, but you’ll be shocked at how many people I know out there who’re nonchalant,” says Anusha Raichur, talking about LGBT – An Illustrated Blueprint, her project that uses art to create awareness about the challenges members of the community face.

“I’ve always been passionate about LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) issues. Having said that, I wish I knew more people around who are even remotely passionate about the issue. Let’s take a step back; first let’s hope that people are even aware of what LGBT is, what the difference is, and the struggle these people go through,” she continues.

Using spunky illustrations in vivid colours, the works put spotlight on members of the society who are often looked down upon and ostracised. The works depict them in different settings like the space, or Mughal-era, with Raichur giving prominence to bisexuals and transgender people. “People still don’t know what the realm of bisexuality is; they aren’t aware of what the term transgender exactly means. The struggle people go through and the issues related to this community,” she adds.

The Bengaluru-based independent illustrator and graphic designer says she was inspired when she attended a transgender seminar in college, and when later she got to interview a few “lovely people” from the community in journalism school. “They’re possibly some of the most beautiful people I’ve met. The strength and bravery they possess is exemplary,” she says.

“Just because the United States has legalised same-sex marriage, and just because we see LGBT issues being addressed more openly in the US media doesn’t mean that we’ve come a long way here — that is something we fail to realise as a generation. The community here can’t come out to us  — ‘modern lot’, how can they possibly come out to their parents in this regressive country?” questions Raichur.

The 24-year-old uses basic graphic design softwares like Adobe illustrator and Photoshop to create the works. She says she used the art as her medium because people really connect with it. “No one has really illustrated the struggles of this community so much. It’s great because it tells people that they’re not alone. The loud colours help with that,” she says.

Adding, Raichur says, “art resonates with everyone”. “Anyone can start a conversation about the community using art, it’s easier to share and discuss art. A lot of my friends bought my LGBT related art recently and showed it to their parents who seemed pretty intrigued and happy at what I was working towards — it didn’t feel vulgar or wrong — somehow they could relate to it,” she says.

Comprising around 13 illustrations, all of which are on her Instagram page, the illustrator says the response to her project has been “overwhelming”, and has even “helped a couple of people start conversations about coming out”.

“My next series will have more real stories from the LGBT community. I’m going to illustrate all the problems they face. The first series was merely an introduction,” she says.

She is, however, quick to add that since this project is introductory, she did not face any problems. “The challenges lie up ahead — in real interviews and real stories. It’s going to be challenging to get people to open up,” she says.

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