Activism through art
Throughout the ages, art has always been a powerful form of expression, capable of provoking thought and bringing change. It has always been a powerful tool for activism and as such, artists have always used their creativity and imagination to shed light on many social, economic, and environmental issues around us. Today, we will be talking about one such individual who has dedicated his life to such thoughtful and empowering artworks, using his talent to drive social change.
Abdullah Al Morshed or Morshed Mishu as he's commonly known, is a Bangladeshi cartoonist, illustrator, cover artist, and graffiti artist. He has been working as a cartoonist professionally since 2012 and is the current Assistant Editor of the monthly satire magazine, Unmad. He has garnered worldwide attention with his prolific artwork addressing social, political, and environmental issues.
When asked about how art can promote social change, he said that art is merely a tool that helps deliver the idea of change to the masses. Change takes time and there are things in history that were right then but are not right anymore. So, to motivate people to bring about this change, art helps to make people believe in how the changes can help them.
He referred to his famous work in "The Global Happiness Challenge" where he envisioned a world without war and catastrophe. "The idea for The Global Happiness Challenge was simple" Morshed stated, adding, "Instead of all the suffering and death and sadness, what would those scenarios look like if war didn't happen, this vision is what I wanted to show people."
He also brought up his drawing of the sensational Bangladesh women's football team when they returned home after winning the SAFF Women's Championship. He depicted them on a roofless bus, smiling and waving to the crowd, much like the rituals you see abroad. "I can't give them a literal bus, but I can still show the people of Bangladesh what it could look like through my drawing," said Morshed.
Morshed Mishu always takes the opportunity to illustrate his imagination through art on most social issues. Be it political or environmental, anything that aligns with his philosophy, he is at arms to represent the pressing matter.
"Any issue that I personally feel connected to that is good for me, my family, and especially my country that I'm very passionate for, I draw to evoke some thoughts and inspire my fellow countrymen," elaborated Morshed.
When it comes to his thought process on creating artwork, he always keeps it simple. "I ask myself five basic questions; what, where, how, why, and when." This seemingly small step helps him uncover a lot more answers about the issue or cause than expected. He says since he is just a common person, he tries to think from that perspective, adding to his own personal feelings towards the subject and approaches his work accordingly.