internet trends

Representing people of colour and folk art, #SouthAsianArtists has Twitter’s finest illustrations

The contributions from Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Burma and Bhutan displayed a dazzling array of talent.

For a week in October 2017, Twitter users all over the world logged in to find that their timelines had become a virtual exhibition space for South Asian artists. A hashtag started by design student and illustrator Fatima Wajid, #SouthAsianArtists trended on the microblogging site with graphic designers, cartoonists and illustrators uploading their art, introductions to their work and aesthetic style.

Wajid’s simple but brilliant idea, “To support all South Asian Artists on the interwebz!” yielded some truly incredible results.

The fabulous display of talent from across countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and Maldives covered most genres – ranging from folk and pop-art to anime and children’s book illustrations. For people like Anoosha Syed, it was about drawing herself into the world of cartoons. Describing herself as a “Pakistani Character designer”, Syed’s contributions tackled the often overlooked issue of representing brown people in popular art.

Others, like Chennai-based Subadra Kalyanaraman chose to showcase what they could do with folk art. Kalyanaraman posted pictures of the ubiquitous aluminium kettle found at every Indian street corner tea shop and wall art painted by her in the Madhubani tradition of Bihar.

Pakistani-Canadian Eiynah Mohammed-Smith uploaded four images, each one blending together themes of religion and sexuality. In one image an Indian woman and a Pakistani woman share a passionate kiss, their hair a map of their respective nations. In another a woman in a hijab suggestively licks a banana. The artist, who started off as a sex blogger, describes herself as “a woman, writer and illustrator of Pakistani/Muslim background who often critiques religion, both the far-right in the East and the West”, on her website.

A Telugu artist based in India, Lohitha Kiran, tweeted out medical sketches of the anatomy of the human brain and the heart along with a sketch of two transgender people. The illustrator is based in the US has worked on various botanical illustrations and graphic novels on transgender health and diabetes.

Jawad Cheema, an artist, stand-up comedian and screenwriter shared some of his fan art featuring pop-culture characters such as the Marvel anti-hero Deadpool and Tyrion Lannister from the popular series Game of Thrones.

We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

Virat Kohli and Ola come together to improve Delhi's air quality

The onus of curbing air-pollution is on citizens as well

A recent study by The Lancet Journal revealed that outdoor pollution was responsible for 6% of the total disease burden in India in 2016. As a thick smog hangs low over Delhi, leaving its residents gasping for air, the pressure is on the government to implement SOS measures to curb the issue as well as introduce long-term measures to improve the air quality of the state. Other major cities like Mumbai, Pune and Kolkata should also acknowledge the gravitas of the situation.

The urgency of the air-pollution crisis in the country’s capital is being reflected on social media as well. A recent tweet by Virat Kohli, Captain of the Indian Cricket Team, urged his fans to do their bit in helping the city fight pollution. Along with the tweet, Kohli shared a video in which he emphasized that curbing pollution is everyone’s responsibility. Apart from advocating collective effort, Virat Kohli’s tweet also urged people to use buses, metros and Ola share to help reduce the number of vehicles on the road.

In the spirit of sharing the responsibility, ride sharing app Ola responded with the following tweet.

To demonstrate its commitment to fight the problem of vehicular pollution and congestion, Ola is launching #ShareWednesdays : For every ​new user who switches to #OlaShare in Delhi, their ride will be free. The offer by Ola that encourages people to share resources serves as an example of mobility solutions that can reduce the damage done by vehicular pollution. This is the fourth leg of Ola’s year-long campaign, #FarakPadtaHai, to raise awareness for congestion and pollution issues and encourage the uptake of shared mobility.

In 2016, WHO disclosed 10 Indian cities that made it on the list of worlds’ most polluted. The situation necessitates us to draw from experiences and best practices around the world to keep a check on air-pollution. For instance, a system of congestion fees which drivers have to pay when entering central urban areas was introduced in Singapore, Oslo and London and has been effective in reducing vehicular-pollution. The concept of “high occupancy vehicle” or car-pool lane, implemented extensively across the US, functions on the principle of moving more people in fewer cars, thereby reducing congestion. The use of public transport to reduce air-pollution is another widely accepted solution resulting in fewer vehicles on the road. Many communities across the world are embracing a culture of sustainable transportation by investing in bike lanes and maintenance of public transport. Even large corporations are doing their bit to reduce vehicular pollution. For instance, as a participant of the Voluntary Traffic Demand Management project in Beijing, Lenovo encourages its employees to adopt green commuting like biking, carpooling or even working from home. 18 companies in Sao Paulo executed a pilot program aimed at reducing congestion by helping people explore options such as staggering their hours, telecommuting or carpooling. After the pilot, drive-alone rates dropped from 45-51% to 27-35%.

It’s the government’s responsibility to ensure that the growth of a country doesn’t compromise the natural environment that sustains it, however, a substantial amount of responsibility also lies on each citizen to lead an environment-friendly lifestyle. Simple lifestyle changes such as being cautious about usage of electricity, using public transport, or choosing locally sourced food can help reduce your carbon footprint, the collective impact of which is great for the environment.

Ola is committed to reducing the impact of vehicular pollution on the environment by enabling and encouraging shared rides and greener mobility. They have also created flat fare zones across Delhi-NCR on Ola Share to make more environment friendly shared rides also more pocket-friendly. To ensure a larger impact, the company also took up initiatives with City Traffic Police departments, colleges, corporate parks and metro rail stations.

Join the fight against air-pollution by using the hashtag #FarakPadtaHai and download Ola to share your next ride.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Ola and not by the Scroll editorial team.