When a brush is mightier than arms

It’s not often that U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hands over a certificate to you or, actor Michael Douglas shares your work on Facebook. That’s what happened with Anjali Chandrashekar, 22, who won the third prize at the United Nations Poster for Peace Contest. She received the award at the U.N. Headquarters in New York on May 3.

Two of Anjali’s works were selected — ‘Break Free’ and ‘Cutting a Peace Deal’. ‘Break Free’ shows white peace doves fly out of a cage shaped like a nuclear warhead, while the other poster was about affirmative action — the dove acts like scissors and cuts through the image of a warhead, towards peace.

Anajli, who studied at PSBB Senior Secondary School and went on to graduate from Pratt Institute in the U.S., is no stranger to using her talent for a cause — to raise funds and to create awareness. She’s been doing it since she was 10, and has participated in several U.N. campaigns in the past.

“It was such an honour to be part of the 2016 campaign for nuclear disarmament. Releasing the posters with the Secretary-General was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I will cherish forever,” says Anjali.

This campaign was to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the first General Assembly Resolution and to reaffirm the U.N.’s historic commitment to nuclear disarmament. At the U.N., she also met the President of the General Assembly Mogens Lykketoft and actor Michael Douglas, long-standing U.N. Messenger of Peace. “I got to speak with them and understand what they do and the challenges within the realm of nuclear disarmament,” says Anjali.

She has always liked to speak through visuals. “As an artist, I have tried to make meaning of the world around me visually. And pictures transcend barriers of age, language and literacy. The Poster for Peace was a chance for me to show that a brush can be mightier than arms. The goal of nuclear disarmament has been a tremendously difficult challenge, but this campaign tells us that peace is possible if we all work together towards it,” says Anjali, who works in the U.S.

Anjali heard about the event on their website and applied. She submitted three posters, of which two were selected.

“It took me three months, but I didn’t do it at a stretch. I played with several ideas and finally came up with these,” says the artist.

“Pratt influenced my artistic language. It was an incredibly rewarding experience to get an education that helped me with that design thinking process and I think it translates into my recent work too,” she adds.

For more than a decade, Anjali has been working silently on her global social project, Picture It, through which she has been making art for various health, humanitarian and environmental causes for national and international organisations. She initially started off sending art work through post and then e-mail too.

As a campaigner since a young age, Anjali did not realise the magnitude of her work and her world vision. She read, absorbed, painted and drew. “My peers at school were supportive, but not many knew what I was doing,” she smiles. “They just knew I made a lot of art. I was pretty shy.”

What has kept her going over the years is the exposure art has provided her. “I’ve attended a lot of summits and conferences and met people from different countries. Just learning about their backgrounds and seeing how much they have accomplished has been a constant driving factor.”

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Printable version | Apr 19, 2021 12:41:29 AM |

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