This is a comic about Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay, a South Asian feminist and freedom fighter. I wanted to create a comic that brings Kamaladevi’s work to life and gives South Asian kids a badass, desi feminist hero to look up to. I hope that sharing her story will inspire a new generation of desi activists in the U.S.
The comic was featured at a university-wide symposium on social change and activism at the University of Michigan. It is currently available on SocialChange101, a free online educational resource.
In the last few years, we've started to see a lot more South Asians in pop culture. For me and the rest of my generation of desi-Americans who grew up in a void of representation, it's an exciting moment to finally see people who look like us and share our stories on screen. However, by always presenting straight, white women as brown mens' love interests, shows like Master of None and films like The Big Sick tend to tweak, rather than challenge, prevailing narratives of whiteness. Furthermore, these works exclude brown women or present them as burdensome, caricatured, and unattractive options.
As a desi woman, I've been frustrated by this pattern. I started imagining what it would have been like if the rom coms I grew up with featured anyone who looked like me, and the idea for the illustrations was born. It was featured on Buzzfeed India last summer.
I created a zine about growing up as the only brown girl in my neighborhood in Virginia. Email me for a full copy! (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Here are a few of my favorite single-panel comics. I post them daily on my instagram (@shebanimal)!
I illustrated Leslie Knope's best compliments to bff Ann Perkins (and boyfriend Ben). They were featured on Buzzfeed (see "Press") and are available on my store as prints, mugs, totes and more.
This is a project I made for a graduate anthropology course on Ethnographic Writing.
This is a series of pop culture references for 90s desi-American kids. It was featured on the Aerogram, along with an artist interview.
I turned Chance the Rapper's album "Coloring Book" into an actual coloring book. It's available on my Etsy store.
They seemed to need their own category.