In Dore's version, Sita's choices for partner is quite diverse with both men and women lining up for her hand.

An Indian artists illustrations on the LGBT community is touching the right chords'Penilised': For these women, heterosexuality is like a death sentence. Indian law does not permit homosexual relations and the penis becomes a noose around their necks, killing them both physically and in spirit.
Features Saturday, March 21, 2015 - 05:30

An architect by profession, Maitri Dore has had a fascination for illustrations since she was a child. However, it is only a few years ago that she started working on her interest seriously.  

The Mumbai-based artist has since been creating illustrations, specially on two issues- ecological initiatives and the LGBTQ community. 

The former firm she worked for dealt in ecological initiatives, which in turn influenced her sketches on the issue. But her creations revolving around the LGBTQ community was because she had a personal interest in their cause.

"I always had an interest in the LGBTQ community and the issues it faces", says 27-year-old Dore who believes in gender equality.

"It is because of that I started contributing to online sites including Gaysi and Gaylaxy", she adds.

 

'The Park Bench Test': Two people getting intimate on a park bench is not always what you think. The number of possible outcomes is infinite and counting.

Dore also illustrates for the Chennai-based children's magazine Gokulam. One of Dore's illustrations titled "The Fist" won the first prize in a contest in which the theme was "In and Out of the Closet".

'The Fist': This illustration won first prize in a contest whose theme was ‘In and out of the Closet’. Being stuffed into the metaphorical closet is akin to having no identity or means of escape. This is an attempt to capture the claustrophobia and bleakness that is the mental space of individuals who are trapped by the strictures of society.

The drawing, as Dore describes on tumblr, "is an attempt to capture the claustrophobia and bleakness that characterises the mental space of individuals who are trapped by the strictures of society".

In "Sita Chooses", Dore attempts to give a modern twist to the Swayamvara- the practice of choosing a husband, from among a list of suitors. Only in Dore's version, Sita's choices for partner is quite diverse with both men and women lining up for her hand. 

Dore writes that such a situation would perhaps be possible in "an egalitarian society". 

This illustration first appeared in Volume 3 of The Gaysi Zine, 2015.

Though she herself is not a member of the LGBTQ community, her work reflects her point of view on the situation faced by members of the community today, she says. 

In a series of illustrations titled "The Book Covers That Never Were", Dore highlights how male superheroes have long been stereotyped as well-built, macho characters and for long nothing other that the pre-defined roles have been encouraged.

'Flower Power: In an Ideal World Saffron is Just Another Colour': This illustration was published on the Gaysi website in April 2014 during the heat of India’s pre- election campaigns.

"Men whose body types and sexual orientations do not conform to society's notions of perfection, are no less super", is the message of the Superman illustrations.

"The reaction to my illustrations have mostly been positive till now", says Dore who recently quit her job in Bengaluru and has shifted to Mumbai.

You can view Maitri Dore's work here

All images source: Maitri Dore 

This article was first published on The News Minute on March 2, 2015.

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