WorldPride [18 February - 5 March, 2023] is a celebration of LGBTQIA+ communities around the world. It acknowledges the diversity, beauty and resilience of the LGBTQIA+ community. This year's theme is "Gather, Dream, Amplify", and it invites us to come together in solidarity to create a more just and equitable world.
"Gender exists on a spectrum. And it doesn't matter if I ever completely understand them all or not. Because all human beings deserve equality." ~ Zada Kent
Lakshmi Mohanbabu's "Colours Of Unity" series is a commentary on issues of racial discrimination and gender bias. More often than not, we tend to be dragged into the abyss of isolation without recognising that we are all part of the same universe. We live in an ever-changing world where the only constant is change. The change we need is an acceptance of people of various cultures and getting rid of racial, gender and sexual bias for the human race to live in harmony.
"Colours of Unity" is a series of portraits designed to highlight individualism in a world where everyone's lives are under microscopic scrutiny.
Socio-cultural influences affect human behaviour and the way human behaviour is passed down, which can be seen in the determination of what is age and gender appropriate. This can lead to biases, which define how people react to sexism, homophobia and sexuality. Even colours are associated with socio-cultural impacts, as Lakshmi explains:
"Colours worn for various occasions may be diametrically opposite from one group to another group of people. Black is the colour of mourning for some people, whereas white is for others. White may symbolise purity and is worn by brides in some cultures and yet viewed as an absence of colour and therefore worn by widows in other cultures, which may favour fire colours such as red and yellow. Blue is the colour for baby boys and pink for baby girls in western cultures but has no significance in other cultures."
Lakshmi questions how these preconceived notions translate from culture to culture, where different traditions and beliefs are observed. For instance, self, anxiety and depression might not relate in the same context when observed in new cultural settings.
According to Lakshmi, her series of portraits examines individuality.
"Age or race does not define the colour of skin or hair. Men and women have metallic lips with colourful skin and glasses. The glasses help depict the view of the external world, its reflection and influences on the mind."
Celebrating diversity, inclusiveness and acceptance of all identities!
“My Colours Of Unity series is a commentary on issues of racial discrimination and gender bias. More often than not, we tend to be dragged into the abyss of isolation without recognising the fact we are all part of the same universe. We live in an ever-changing world where the only constant is change. The change we need is an acceptance of people of various cultures and getting rid of racial, gender and sexual bias for the human race to live in harmony." ~ Lakshmi Mohanbabu
“I don't like being bogged down with a particular style. I strive to create a style that is definitely my own even if two series of paintings appear stylistically different. My background as an architect and a fashion designer as well as my interest in architecture, costume and design history has influenced my approach and style.” ~ Lakshmi Mohanbabu
“I am the youngest of three sisters. The twins were always in the limelight and I remember spending most of my time doodling in a corner. I loved observing people and drawing them. For this reason, I was always assigned to make posters for any events in the UN community. Very often I would include people in the posters which would be a source of great amusement when some would identify themselves in them.” ~ Lakshmi Mohanbabu
"In my series of portraits there is an emphasis on the individualistic. Age or race do not define the colour of skin or hair. Men and women have metallic lips, colourful skin and glasses. The glasses help depict the view of the external world, its reflection and influences on the mind." ~ Lakshmi Mohanbabu
“I want the person viewing my work to want to come back and question what it is about. Since most of the work has a strong research base with a lot of cross cultural influences I want it to create a positive impact, one that would get someone thinking about the message I have to convey i.e. unity in diversity.” ~ Lakshmi Mohanbabu
“I grew up during the Russian occupation in Afghanistan where my father worked for the United Nations. In spite of all the turmoil around us the interesting aspect was that the international community was very small and close knit. I do think that this had a great influence on my attitude towards people and different cultures which has had a very positive impact on my approach to art.” ~ Lakshmi Mohanbabu
“I knew I wanted to pursue a creative profession even though I liked technical subjects which is why I went on to become an architect. I continued to paint and illustrate books even after studying fashion design and moving on to jewellery design. It was a path that got created along the way.” ~ Lakshmi Mohanbabu
Lakshmi is a Singaporean artist, architect and fashion designer by training who spent her formative years in Soviet-occupied Afghanistan. Two of her art sculptures are in Space orbiting Earth on the International Space Station and will fly to the Moon by 2025 as part of the Moon Gallery, the first extra-terrestrial art gallery.
Her art has been featured as a mosaic animation on the largest HD screen in the world at Singapore's Suntec Convention Centre, displayed in prominent galleries, and is collected worldwide.
She started her career as an architect, illustrated books on disability for the Voluntary Health Association of India and the WHO, and became a fashion designer, educator/mentor at NIFT, Delhi and Lasalle College of the Arts.
An artist of many mediums, her art spans all facets of design, multi-sensory and multidisciplinary; it is an intersection of art and technology.
Lakshmi Mohanbabu, Artist, Architect and Fashion Designer