Somewhere between lines and colour, artist and illustrator Tara Anand found the spectrum of her palette in intersectional feminism. The 19-year-old has since used her medium to create some amazing projects like a series on warrior women of the subcontinent called ‘I AM NO MAN’, another one exploring the origins of feminism in India, and even getting featured in Vogue India with her illustration of Savitribai Phule.
Her most recent project with illustrator Ellie Lee, ‘I am like other girls’ has taken Instagram by storm with submissions pouring in from across the world and an expanding collaborative of artists and illustrators on the bandwagon. Sparking dialogue on what it truly means to be a woman in comparison to the hetero-sexist-racist, capitalist patriarchy that peddles us its definition in main stream media; the project lets girls send in a picture and a defining trait of theirs, that may resonate with other women too.
We got to talking with the artist about her creative process, where her art intersects her revolution and more.
What is ‘I am like other girl’s’ origin story?
The project came about from a conversation between Ellie and I, about how both of us had noticed girls and women around us bragging about not being able to make female friends or “not being like other girls”. This was a trend we saw in our peers and in ourselves when we were younger — the need to compete with other girls and label the women around us petty, shameless, or dramatic.
We found ourselves angry and upset at the lack of a culture of female solidarity in our lives and we were inspired to create something that might spark the formation of a culture like this. We were surprised at how many people this idea seemed to resonate with and how many women just UNDERSTOOD and picked up the idea so quickly!
Describe the project.
“I’m not like other girls” — is a phrase too familiar to most young women trying to be “individual”. Too many of us try to achieve individuality by distancing ourselves from our gender but who decides what girls are like? And who decides that they’re all the same? With 3430000000 women on the planet from 195 countries, thousands of religions, complexions, cultures, and with incredibly diverse interests, professions, talents and personalities — it is impossible to generalise an entire gender. The project strives to redefine what it means to be like other girls.
How do you plan to take the project forward?
Honestly, we hadn’t expected this project to get as big as it has so soon so our plans for the future are currently just to wrangle with the mountain of responses we’ve got! We’d love to collaborate with other organizations with similar messages, figure out some way for our project to have a physical impact on girls who come from less fortunate backgrounds
What inspires your art? (as an independent creative)
People around me, Literature and History most of all, cities. For me, my art is a way to say things or express things in general; so it could be inspired by something that I believe in deeply and need to express or something as simple as a thing that gives me joy.
What are some of the most common themes in your art? What are your top three favourite motifs and your most preferred medium?
Common themes are women in power, south Asian culture, mythology, colourism. My top three favourite motifs is a really hard one but my top 3 favourite things to draw are elaborate costumes, big features and hands! My favourite medium is ink.
Do you consider yourself a feminist? How would you describe your personal revolution?
Of course! I believe very strongly in the power of art and media in changing what people believe and the way they think. I think my personal revolution involves simply trying to popularize feminine narratives both through my art and the way I live my life. I think changing the presence women have in the media is more likely to humanize them and change the way society perceives women!
What lies down the pipeline for TaraAnandArt?
Too many projects and too little time to execute them! I’m working on something more about colourism and beauty standards, I hope to look more at LGBT themes and the history and cultural significance of Indian women!
You can find Tara Anand here!