All daddies’ girls out there should take a glance at what Debasmita Dasgupta calls ‘My Father Illustrations’, presenting a tribute to the best advice our fathers have given us. The artist is bringing out these memories on social media.
The Facebook page is a sheer portrayal of what fathers have passed along to their daughters in the journey of life. It enables us to re-connect with that bond and to say — if not said it enough already – ‘Thanks Dad’.
Indian-origin astronaut Sunita Williams
“I started this series because there is an urgent need to engage fathers, who are mostly the decision-makers in our families, to engage in dialogue to protect girl child rights and to amplify the voices of those fathers who are fearlessly fighting for their daughters and inspiring them to be good and do better,” the 36-year-old told BuzzFeed.
Pepsico CEO Indra Nooyi
We all girls wear our fathers’ pride throughout the voyage. illustrator Debasmita believes in that passion and took us closer to the father–daughter stories.
Mexican painter Frida Kahlo
The project is dedicated to the fathers who always support their girl child and never stop fighting for the rights all women deserve.
Excerpts from an interview:
What’s the concept of “My Father illustrations”?
“My Father illustrations” is a participatory movement of storytelling and artistic exchanges to amplify voices of fathers who protect the rights of their daughters.
Why did you think it was needed in the current scenario?
“My Father illustrations” stands for the girl who is one among the 62 million girls in the world who are currently not in school, the girl who is part of the 15 million girls who are married every year before the age of 18, and the girl who is aborted like another 12 million female foetuses in India.
Under these scenarios when I asked “who can make a difference in these girls’ lives?” The answer I found was “a father can!”
As a decision-maker in a patriarchal society, a father can celebrate the girl child’s birth, let her complete her education, invest in her further studies and save her from becoming a child bride.
How’s the responses from dads and daughters so far?
I have received hundreds of messages from fathers and daughters around the world. They express awe, inspiration, pleasure, happiness and myriad other emotions. Many subjects of my stories have expressed gratitude and love. Sometimes a child shares a picture based on one of my stories and it melts my heart. Sometimes a father tells me how beautifully connected they feel to the cause. Many people connect to more stories in their communities and so a chain of positivity has formed where the communities are charged to take action. With every “like” on my Facebook page and every word of appreciation I get in my inbox, I feel more driven towards the cause. Every drop of inspiration means an ocean full of positive waves that keep me moving on.
Did you draw inspiration from a personal space?
Yes, you can say that. I grew up in a middle class family in Kolkata. Being the only child, I had a very close bond with my parents, especially my father who inspired me in many ways. My father is a group theatre actor/director. I used to get completely bowled over seeing him bring together actors, orchestrate them to create art with a strong social message. That somehow became the foundation of my artistic existence and inspired me to find my purpose as an artist. Thus began an urge do something meaningful with my education, my art, my resources and surroundings.
Any other such upcoming projects in future?
I believe that art has the ability to create a climate of sensitivity in which it is possible for change to happen. With this belief I have co-founded a non-profit called ArtsPositive. Through our projects we will bring art closer to disadvantaged communities. Help them express their stories through illustrations, films and photographs. So I would say, stay in the know. Many interesting projects are in the pipeline.
What does the term ‘feminist dads’ mean to you?
According to me ‘feminist dads’ are those who believe in as well as provide equal rights and opportunities to their daughters and sons.
Indian gymnast Dipa Karmakar
Applause for the feminist fathers out there…
Indian Cricketer Harmanpreet Kaur
Debasmita Dasgupta has also co-founded ArtsPositive, a non-profit organisation, in India.
Indian classical dancer Malini Sarabhai
WATCH The Artist’s Video
Feature Image Credit: Debasmita Dasgupta
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