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How this Kerala visual artist captures different aspects of the Coronavirus outbreak


Crisp, irreverent and political, visual artist Unnikrishna Menon Damodaran’s graphic artwork strip ‘Meanwhile in Kerala’, depicts different aspects of the COVID-19 outbreak in Kerala in a single body. Begun on March 9 on his Instagram account @unnikrishna, it’s a satirical tackle the manner folks navigate the downside.

Having labored in Bahrain for the final 27 years as a digital specialist for a multi-national fee firm, UMD, as he calls himself, has cheeky takes on modern political and social life in Kerala. An alumnus of the College of Fine Arts, UMD calls himself a “designer and visual artist with a dissenting diction”. He blends typography, drawings and witticism in English and Malayalam.

Excerpts from an electronic mail interview with the artist…

Unnikrishna Menon Damodaran’s graphic artwork in his collection ‘Meanwhile in Kerala’ on his insta account
 
| Photo Credit:
special arrangement

How lengthy have you ever been doing ‘Meanwhile in Kerala’ and why did you begin this?

It all began with social media from 2008. Being a visual artist it’s crucial to point out the work you might be creating. I began making a verbal-visual expression of a single phrase in Malayalam that we regularly use in our each day life. Some struggled to learn it, some ignored it, however I saved sharing it. I referred to as it “strange word picture”. And it developed over time.

Editorial buddies of Malayalanadu Online Web Journal had been concerned about sharing my work on their web site and I grew to become dedicated to creating my dissenting visuals virtually each week. I had developed the behavior of watching the each day information after work and that motivated me to start out creating an opinionated visual, very a lot in step with my graphic-visual literacy. But I’ve retained my sturdy curiosity and sense of visual components and by no means compromised on it. No re-drawing and no transforming; all my work is simply natural because it comes out. Initially, there was no response to my work. But I saved on doing it. Engage, ignore or do no matter you want was my coverage and I’m nonetheless on it.

I used to be (am nonetheless) reacting to Kerala’s political-cultural moments inside the constraints of Instagram’s sq. packing containers. No out-of-the {Instagram} field claims right here! Visually very typographic and, at instances, pun meant, reactions, responses and, not often revolting, however dissenting feedback on the eventful each day life of Malayalis in Kerala and throughout the world.

This dwell assortment of graphic messages explores the each day life of Malayalis that engaged, altered or influenced the key moments created by Malayalis themselves!

Unnikrishna Menon Damodaran’s graphic art in his series ‘Meanwhile in Kerala’ on his insta account and facebook page

Unnikrishna Menon Damodaran’s graphic artwork in his collection ‘Meanwhile in Kerala’ on his insta account and fb web page  
| Photo Credit:
special arrangement

Your latest ones are on the Malayali’s change in life as a result of of the COVID-19 outbreak. How a lot time do you spend on it and what’s it that motivates you to place this up?

As common, we didn’t hassle a lot and waited for it [Coronavirus] to achieve Kerala. I used to be like that too as I used to be solely specializing in points in Kerala, after which got here the information that about three folks from Italy and their doings in Pathanamthitta. As COVID-19 is a contagious illness, I saved watching its unfold throughout the world and the way Malayalis had been taking it.

As the information develops, I begin with the headline and based mostly on that my visual follows fairly organically. I spend about two to a few hours for a submit as I do lots of self-editing earlier than it’s posted. So generally, it might take extra time.

Unnikrishna Menon Damodaran’s graphic art in his series ‘Meanwhile in Kerala’ on his social media handle

Unnikrishna Menon Damodaran’s graphic artwork in his collection ‘Meanwhile in Kerala’ on his social media deal with
 
| Photo Credit:
Special arrangement

Why do you name your self ‘Designer of the Dissent’?

That remains to be my declare. We know the way nice designs efficiently promote massive fats lies and we additionally know the entire course of of promoting, branding and commodifying that each one design normally is. The progressive energy of political graphic design – particularly in these instances of dissent – is what offers a spark of consciousness of human life, social justice and wrestle to the train.

However, first we should realise that designers are problem-solving professionals, not simply individuals who make issues look good and glamorous. It is our duty to query, problem and talk the downside and dissent, wherever needed, to guard these freedoms and pursuits we worth a lot.

Unnikrishna Menon Damodaran’s graphic art in his series ‘Meanwhile in Kerala’ on social media

Unnikrishna Menon Damodaran’s graphic artwork in his collection ‘Meanwhile in Kerala’ on social media  
| Photo Credit:
special arrangement

We create visual and verbal cultures that creates a resonance in others and that may solely be achieved inside a tradition that welcomes dissent. But what’s necessary is that ‘design dissent’ ought to be about enhancing conditions as design ought to finally be about making issues higher and never spreading hate. So my declare as designer of the dissent is an ongoing course of and it evolves as society adjustments.

Any plans of a e book or an e-book for ‘Meanwhile in Kerala’?

Of course, I’m ready for a writer. Proposals are welcome.

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