How queer art is changing conversations around the LGBTQIA + community

Queer art projecting tales of wrestle and survival is gaining recognition in India, giving the LGBTQIA + community long-due applicable illustration

“One of the highs of my career as an artist was when a person I met at an exhibition wrote to me about how he had used one of my paintings to come out to his parents, something he had struggled with for years,” says Veer Misra, a 24-year previous graphic designer, illustrator and artist.

Veer makes use of his art to inform tales from the queer community and normalise their experiences of popping out, discovering a associate and falling in love.

“Coming out is just a part of the process, there is so much more to our lives. We have relationships like any other heterosexual person and that involves dating, longing for a partner and heartbreak. When we tell stories from the queer community, these should also have a share, so that any person struggling to accept his or her sexuality understands that it is a normal life even if society makes you think otherwise. I want to show the mundane life of queer people,” says the Delhi-based artist who shares his work on Instagram at @v.eird.

Artwork by Veer Misra

Even as the Central Government on September 14 opposed a plea filed earlier than the Delhi High Court searching for recognition and registration of same-sex marriages beneath the Hindu Marriage Act (1956) stating that ‘our values don’t recognise it’, there is a brand new era of queer artists attempting to normalise non-binary gender.

Projecting tales of wrestle and survival by means of their art on social media, they provide themselves, and their community, the long-due applicable illustration in society.

“A lot of factors have contributed to this. For instance, the wide access to Internet and penetration of social media, especially Instagram. In the last two years, there has been a boom in India’s queer art scene and one of the reasons is the Supreme Court’s decision to decriminalise homosexuality. These artists that we see today, existed even before the judgement came out, but they shared their artworks in closed groups. Reading down Section 377 helped these artists to be fearless and flaunt their sexuality. Media, like Bollywood, that have mass appeal have largely shown queer characters in a humiliating manner,” says Anwesh Sahoo, visible artist and mannequin who gained Mr Gay World India in 2016.

Self-portrait by Anwesh Sahoo

Self-portrait by Anwesh Sahoo

Need of the hour

Anwesh who runs the Instagram deal with @the.effeminare challenges the stereotype of how a person ought to look by flaunting flared pants, excessive heels, fake feather gloves and sheer attire.

“We all grew up in a hetero-normative society, so the definition of a man is ingrained in our minds. But in the last two years, there has been a shift in perception,” says Anwesh, who lately graduated from National Institute of Fashion Technology, Delhi.

Like Anwesh, Bengaluru-based artist T Praveen Kumar believes that making LGBTQIA+ tales part of the on a regular basis narrative will assist normalise non-binary identities.

Sketch by T Praveen Kumar

Sketch by T Praveen Kumar

“As a child, I found art as my mode of expressing the struggle of accepting my sexuality. These sketches helped people around me understand what I was going through. Giving queer artists equal representation not only helps in normalising same-sex relationships in society, but also instils a sense of acceptance and confidence in the artist. Unless you put up pictures of a guy draping saree or having piercings, people will always feel it is unacceptable for men to do so,” says Praveen.

Through his Instagram web page @koncham_artsy, Praveen goals to make the lives of transgender people in rural components of the nation, seen.

“Bigger cities have pride parades and support groups but in rural areas, people are still struggling,” he says. “Through my work, I try to bring these stories of trans individuals to a bigger platform, for their share of representation.”

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