BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE: Arya Murali, ‘The Doodling Hoodlum’

BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE: Arya Murali, ‘The Doodling Hoodlum’

I am an obsessive Instagrammer. In this day and age, who isn’t? It’s one of the few social media platforms that is protected from, and yet to be, proliferated by our parents and nosy relatives (adios Facebook) But what makes Instagram the go-to platform, other than its simplicity and clean efficiency, is the fact that there are millions of really cool artists, both pros and amateurs, that can be discovered on the Explore page!

As many of you who follow me on IG know that I dabble in some art now and then, comics and such. And I also love Daysha Veronica, the badass woman from Buzzfeed! And what do these two phrases have in common?

Arya Murali!

It was one of Arya’s posts, that was reposted by Daysha, that got me hitting that follow button! It was about harassment against women, and boy, did she have some things to say.

This 26 year old Kozhikode girl, who is currently pursuing her B.Ed, is an impulsive doodler in her free time. She’s a person who doesn’t shy away from social issues, hence it was my wish to collaborate with her, which FINALLY came true! But I will let Miss Murali explain about this collaborative project herself!

Let’s meet Arya-

What does “feminism” mean to you?

Feminism, for me, is a constant fight against the vile patriarchy and toxic misogyny that we’re faced with every day. The fight to reclaim the spaces a whole section of us rightfully deserve, a fight against the systems that actively and systematically oppress.

I feel sad when a woman says she is not a feminist. Their ignorance is both alarming and saddening. They’re unaware of the history of the struggles the women who fought for the freedom and emancipation of women. That’s because “Feminism” has a negative connotation in our society. It is falsely perceived as misandry and bra-burning while it’s a movement rich in history and its own struggles. I wish more people get educated upon what actual feminism is. I always make it a point to expand my knowledge on the subject and issues that arise today. Updating myself on these matters has somehow become very important. So my advice to young people out there – because others (read Elders) are mostly beyond saving – Feminism is not man-hating. “Feminism/st” isn’t a bad word. If you are to criticise Feminism, at least read up on the topic.

 When did your artwork start leaning towards social issues?

I don’t exactly remember when it started to address social/political issues. I’d say most of what I do, has a socio-political angle to it , be it some of my photographs in the initial days of Instagram or my art today. I try to see everything with a critical lens. You could say it might be because of the academic background I come from. Back in college, we were always asked to question things – , the state, the thought-systems, the ideologies, you get the picture. Perhaps it is that sort of mentality of questioning something that got mirrored in the art I make.

How often do you incorporate crowd-sourced projects into your artwork?

Umm. I do it once or twice a year because it takes a lot of time and effort to execute such a project. I am not a professional artist so I do it in between studies.

 How do you feel when people reach out to you with their stories?

I feel really honoured to be the person so many people choose to open up to. Their Stories are what make my projects what they are.

I love how I can engage some people in a conversation or a debate. I genuinely appreciate their efforts to reach out to me, despite some of the topics I choose being “taboo”. It’s something I want to keep doing. That way I stay true to my Instagram handle “Doodlum” – The Doodling Hoodlum 🙂

My handle is what I want to talk about next. “Doodlum” – The Doodling Hoodlum. The definition of Hoodlum is a person who is up to no good. How I see it, I have subverted the term “Hoodlum” and appropriated to suit my own style of expressing the realities. So I’m a doodling delinquent who attempts to challenge the oppressive ideologies and the glaring hypocrisy of our people.

So in the conventional sense, I’m up to no good.

Hence, Doodlum 😉

 Has anyone ever objected against your art in any way? If yes, tell us

There was this one person who took offence after I posted a sketch of a girl with her bra-strap showing. They initially liked it but soon realised they might have been the target there since they had asked me to “cover it” on many occassions.

How did it feel when Daysha Veronica, the queen herself, noticed your art on Instagram?

OMG it was the best birthday gift till date. It never crossed my mind that she would feature the work her fans send her. I merely sent it to her thinking she would find them nice since they addressed a number of issues we face today, and I was the first fan to be featured on her series “Fan crush Fridays”. It was incredibly delightful.

And bless her soul to have taken the time out to give a shout out to her fans like that.

 Lastly, how does it feel collaborating with me, Pooja aka Weird Brown Girl, on #KickThatHarassinAss ?

#KTHA is our baby. Yes, I want to call our project just that. This is the first time I’m collaborating with anyone and it has been amazing  till now. You just might be the perfect work-partner – you motivate me, we sometimes think alike, challenge me, and motivate me some more (courtesy: SIgnature Pooja Style bum-kickin-motivashun).

What I like about you is that you’re so unabashedly you and I envy you for that kind of confidence. I wish I had that kind of ass-kickin confidence. We can also endlessly bond over our mutual love for silver nose-pins!

A brief intro on #KickThatHarassinAss for the people here:

KTHA is the brainchild of Arya Murali from @_doodlum_   and Pooja Vijaykumar from @thatwbg.

Pooja and I have been working on it since May this year; brainstorming, bouncing ideas about a crowdsourced project with harassment as its focus.  Although we have never met in person, Pooja and I clicked immediately since we had similar interests and ideas. All our discussion was on either Instagram or Whatsapp. The plan started in May but due to several reasons like assignments and thesis submissions, our project didn’t come out until August when we released our poster asking for submissions. We gathered some great submissions from people and put out the first story in September. There still are stories coming up but unfortunately we are on a hiatus owing to a slightly packed work schedule for one of us. Hoping to come up with more stories, hoping to #kickthatharassinass.

You guys must check her work out on IG, they’re amazing!

Go check out Arya’s work, as well as our project, #KickThatHarassinAss, by clicking on the links below:

If you guys know anyone that needs to be featured, hit me up!
Follow me on:

Instagram: @thatwbg


Twitter: @thatWBG

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