Chennai transwomen create street art to spread awareness on COVID-19

The art work by Nila and team   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

They worked in silence, mostly. Masks on, transwoman social-worker M Nila and team went about creating a 25x25 painting on the road in front of the Pallikaranai police station last week. It was among their most important public art projects; the subject: COVID-19. The painting was of the structure of the novel Coronavirus, with spikes protruding from its surface. The phrase ‘Stay isolated, stay aware, stay at home’ was painted in Tamil in bold letters above it.

“We wanted to do our bit to create awareness on the pandemic,” says Nila, founder of the Pharm Foundation trust, that works to improve the health, education, and employment of transgender people.

She took up the art project with M Lavanya, C Kavya, Rakshika Raj, and A Afrin, all of them transwomen, roped into the awareness project by the NGO Seva Bharati.

Nila and team at work

Nila and team at work   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

“I have always been interested in art,” says the 34-year-old, adding that she is happy to be putting her skill to good use. As community organiser with St+art India Foundation, and the Chennai head for the Aravani Art Project, street art is not new to her. But what was new, was working on an isolated street, at a safe distance from her fellow team members.

The Chennai-born, who is based in Perumbakkam, speaks to us over a patchy phone call punctuated by noise, “We just got back from distributing food to daily wage earners from other States, who now have nil income due to the lockdown,” she explains. “I have always wanted to be up and about in the field, which is why I became a social worker. Every tiny act matters.”

Nila coordinates with the Chennai Corporation, and 10 transwomen from her trust volunteer to go door-to-door in Thiruvanmiyur, surveying people with COVID-19 symptoms.

“This is the least we could do under the circumstances,” she says. “We are all set to tailor 2,000 cloth masks as well.”

Related Topics
  1. Comments will be moderated by The Hindu editorial team.
  2. Comments that are abusive, personal, incendiary or irrelevant cannot be published.
  3. Please write complete sentences. Do not type comments in all capital letters, or in all lower case letters, or using abbreviated text. (example: u cannot substitute for you, d is not 'the', n is not 'and').
  4. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.
  5. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name, to avoid rejection.

Printable version | May 10, 2021 1:31:01 PM |

Next Story