KOCHI: Comics have forever been the carrier of social satire. Through thin lines and a tint of humour, they address social issues and express concerns of the masses. Asha Theres, a Calicut-based illustrator who is now gaining attention online for her cartoons has a similar intention. Her recent work for Kerala-based non-profit organisation Bhava India talks about severe environmental issues and climate crisis we are facing and suggests steps to protect and preserve our eco-system. Titled ‘ashaante_comics’, her page on Instagram is filled with thought-provoking doodles.
Asha sketches away some of the most casual moments from her life, like time spent in college and social problems she witnesses daily. It was about a year ago she decided to turn this hobby into a full-time profession. “I used to scribble in my notebook now and then. But, I never thought of exploring it until I started college,” she says.
Currently employed in Bengaluru as a conservation architect, Asha has done about 50 comics that resonate with her life, work and social outlook. This 27-year-old, however, doesn’t stick to any rules while making her cartoons. “When you do comics, it is important to let ideas flow freely. It is all about expressions,” she says, adding that she uses only basic colours in her comic strips.
Her contributions to the Green Act series of Bhava India includes messages for people regarding the use of plastic, reducing carbon footprint and using cloth pads and menstrual cups. Previously, Asha had worked on a Biennale series, where she addressed the tourists visiting the state for Kochi Muziris Biennale and the need to promote such art events. “I had done about six Biennale comics, that received plenty of appreciation. Art is the best medium to create awareness and to communicate with the public,” says the artist.
‘Mizhiyil ninnum stop-motion experiment’, one of her stop motion videos on YouTube based on the Nirbhaya case, had become a talking point too. The film is a protest against the violence that women face in the country.Asha is now extending the purview of her creativity by exploring digital media and
illustrations. “I am trying to learn graphical art while working as a conservation architect,” she says.