I am Ipsita, a feminist illustrator, currently based and brought up in New Delhi. I am currently freelancing with different feminist organisations and working on some new projects. I did my Masters in Gender and Development in University of Sussex and also have an undergrad degree in Political Science from University of Delhi.
Tell me a little bit about your work as a feminist illustrator. Have you always been interested in the arts? What sparked your interest in these particular areas of sexuality, politics, and power?
So, I have been freelancing for over a year and working with different feminist and international development organisations such as ActionAid UK, Gender at Work, United Nations Girls Education Initiative (UNGEI), Arrow, etc.. My interaction with feminism really changed my worldview. As a political science undergrad, I started understanding the role of politics and gender in our daily lives. This inspired me to turn my art into a purpose and a direction. I am inspired by feminists all over the world, their resilience and strength to challenge the power structures. One of my projects, Colours of Protests pays tribute to all the efforts of women all over the world in spearheading social movements to bring about meaningful change. I, however, am very aware of my standpoint and I do not wish to appropriate any movement or struggle, thus my work is more of a celebration of these victories over patriarchal institutions.
solidariTEa Issue 1: Rethinking feminist leadership
What are some of the most rewarding parts of your work?
I personally never imagined myself to make a living out as an illustrator but yes, now I have worked / collaborated with so many international feminist organisations where my work is contributing towards a gender-equal vision and I love it.
Can you tell me a little bit about your project(s) specific to Women’s History Month? How did this year’s celebration seem different to you?
This year I actually have been working on this Zine, SolidariTEa. It was a few weeks ago to celebrate International Women’s Day. So it is Transform Education’s first zine, where we asked different feminists all over the world to contribute to our vision of reimagining feminist leaderships. Transform Education is a youth coalition hosted by UNGEI. This was so rewarding as we witnessed such amazing contributions, so many people who shared the same vision as us to transform this world through education. On a more personal level, I sold my artworks to fundraise for charity. I put a few of my feminist artworks on sale, and donated the money to Breakthrough India, an organisation fighting against Gender-based violence. I was able to fundraise around 20,000 INR, of which I donated to the organisation.
Given you’re passionate about women’s issues, what is your key area of focus, if any? (e.g., Street Harassment, Child Marriage, Equal Pay, Femicide, etc.)
My key areas include, Gender based violence, something I believe all women & queer people have faced at least once in their life. I want to use my art to amplify such issues. Moreover, equal pay is another important aspect that we should be looking at. Especially in the arts, we have witnessed a huge gap of viewing women as only ‘passionate’ artists where men are rewarded as more professional ones. Not only this, even in the art that is reproduced. Men often use that male gaze to objectify women’s bodies. They often term it as embracing beauty, reclaiming naked bodies, etc. This is something we should talk about more.
Feminist Club Stickers
What do you hope to achieve through your art?
I like to identify as an artivist, I want to use my art for not just aesthetic pleasure but also for a cause. I am a strong believer in the power of visual arts, and its impact on our minds. Especially more now than ever, when we are witnessing a growing wave of hatred and communalism, art as a medium can really help in amplifying voices and struggles. As a young illustrator, I am really inspired by the work of other artists who have actively used their art to bring a change in such challenging times.
What are some of your career goals for the next few years?
I definitely want to work more in the gender field using my art, continue my work as a feminist illustrator. I also want to produce work/research that contributes more to society, and talks about challenging the existing power structures.
How do you relax?
I usually netflix, watch a sitcom to relax and spend time. Or I usually meet and hang around with my best friends, which usually is fun and a great way to forget about stressful work/situations.
Who is your biggest role model / inspiration?
There are so many honestly, starting from Amrita Sher-gill and Frida Kahlo, revolutionary female artists from the Global South. I also am extremely inspired by amazing women that I meet along my way, who I work with, they all add something to me and my passion for feminism. Honestly it is so amazing and such a privilege to be surrounded by like-minded people who are always supporting you and making you feel content.
What is the best place you’ve traveled to?
Brighton, my home for my masters. Honestly, one of the best places I have been to. It’s like my one that got away kind of place, as I had to return home because of COVID-19, but honestly so many fond memories, so many inspiring women that I met.
Ipsita is a feminist illustrator currently based in New Delhi. An advocate of gender studies and intersectional feminism, through her art, she aims to explore the subjects sexuality, politics and power. Her art captures the multifarious human emotions and sentiments. Most of her work centers on realist portraits and colorful illustrations. As a self-taught artist works in various mediums and is well versed with fine art techniques as well as digital. She has exhibited her work, ‘Shaktirupa’ (face of womxn power), in New Delhi, India: A series of feminist re-telling of Hindu mythology consisting of portraits of powerful womxn and queer characters. Her recent digital art series, Colours of Protest, is a celebration of womxn’s resilience and voices all over the world.
Renowned Clients Include: ActionAid UK, Bhaane India, Gender at Work, UNHCR India, Chalkback, United Nations Girls Educations (UNGEI), Almond Circle, UNHCR x FTFI, Refugee Journal, Catcalls NYC
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