“Art really helps shape perceptions. It tells you that it’s okay to be or not to be. You don’t have to conform to society’s idea of ‘normal’.”
Anusha Raichur is an independent graphic designer based out of Bangalore, India who spurned her initial calling to be an economic journalist to follow her passion within the world of art.
She creates thought-provoking art pieces that focus specifically on LGBT issues, confronting us with the need for extended dialogue, and has thrown a spotlight on what some may consider controversial or taboo issues. Yet that is the responsibility of art, and Anusha has embraced its strength to go to places of thought that others would feel sceptical about tackling. She has shown both bravery and a willingness to tackle the difficult questions.
In an exclusive interview with the IPF, Anusha said: “Art truly resonates with a lot of people. People always like their feeling being conveyed with any form of art – be it a drawing, graphic design, photography, television, movie, anything. Art really helps shape perceptions. It tells you that it’s okay to be or not to be. You don’t have to conform to society’s idea of ‘normal’. Someone is out there, thinking the same things you are and is doing their part to convey that to society – it lets you know you aren’t alone.”
The vibrant textures and hues of her artwork help imbue the LGBT issues at hand with a visible cultural context and importance and it’s working.
“I’ve always been passionate about LGBT issues,” said Anusha. “Having said that, I wish I knew more people around who are even remotely passionate about the issue too. Let’s take a step back, passion is a very emotionally heavy term to be demanding. First let’s hope that people are even aware of what LGBT is, what the difference is and the struggle these people go through.
“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.”
So why did she start this series?
“I started this series because I essentially wanted to spread some awareness about the Bisexual and Transgender community.
“People still don’t know what the realm of bisexuality is, they aren’t aware of what the term transgender exactly is, the struggle people go through and the issues related to this community. Being bisexual is a campaign that needs to be legitimised.
“Just because the U.S. has legalised same-sex marriage, and just because we see LGBT issues being addressed more openly in the U.S. media doesn’t mean that we’ve come a long way here, that is something we fail to realise as a generation. Indians can’t even come out to us ‘modern lot’ how can they possibly come out to their parents in this regressive country?”
For Anusha, art became a calling she could not ignore, skewing the trappings of a conformist approach to her career. She had been drawing since a child and was encouraged to develop her art skills by her classes through “rigorous art classes”.
“I studied economics, then economic journalism and worked at CNBC for a year,” she added. “I realised I need to quit and pursue art. It wasn’t an easy journey. I struggled for a while with my decision and choices, but it’s been amazing.”
And the best is yet to come. With her project comes the challenge of being true to the gravity of the issues at hand. “Part one of the LGBT series has been merely introductory,” Anusha explained.
“I haven’t faced challenges yet. The challenges lie ahead. Part two will have more real stories. Illustrating struggles and suffering – that’s the hard part.”
Ultimately, Anusha realised that she had to foster her talent and cultivate it all the better to encourage dialogue.
“I knew I had this inherent talent,” she continued. “Why not use it to help somebody through it? I was never satisfied with the normal art I made. Which is why I knew I needed to make a difference.”
To see more of Anusha Raichur’s work, visit her Instagram page.