CHENNAI: As the United Nations commemorated its first UN General Assembly resolution 70 years ago calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons, on May 3, one family in Chennai was beaming with pride.
Among the 11 artists honoured by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, General Assembly President Mogens Lykketoft and Hollywood actor as well as UN Messenger of Peace Michael Douglas for winning the United Nations Poster for Peace contest was 22-year-old Anjali Chandrashekar.
Chandrashekar bagged the third prize and an award of $1,000, for her poster ‘Cutting Barriers through Peace’. She also received an honourable mention for another poster entry titled ‘Break Free’.
This Kannadiga, who was brought up in Chennai, is also the youngest Asian to be part of the World Economic Forum in 2011 in Davos and recognises herself as an ‘artivist’.
Ask her about how art would help promote nuclear disarmament and she says, “I believe art has the power to humanise some of the most pressing issues that the world faces today. It is also able to transcend barriers of age, language and literacy so I thought this was a great opportunity for me to show that a brush can be mightier than arms.”
This industrial design graduate from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, who made it into the top three among the 4,000 entries across the world, is also a passionate ambassador for peace. “We don’t need to have nuclear weapons to defend against another nuclear state. There are anti-nuclear defence mechanisms that can respond to such a threat. While it is understandable why countries lobby for deterrence, I feel like the realistic goal is to cap the stockpile and reduce them gradually,” she says.
Chandrashekhar laments how her interaction with Douglas was brief. “He was very humble and I had the chance to speak to him and commend him for his work in film as well as his humanitarian efforts,” she says.
Her mother Anuradha couldn’t be happier about her daughter’s UN honour. “Anjali is a very hard working girl. We admire her ability to reach out to so many people, animals and causes in many ways and make a lasting impression with her art and contribution. And most importantly, she remains grounded,” says the homemaker.
[[While it is understandable why countries lobby for deterrence, I feel like the realistic goal is to cap the stockpile
— Anjali Chandrashekar,UN Poster Contest Winner