Bringing Forward Social Issues Through Design

Not all social issues are brought up in the media or in public. Design can bring light onto people, which in turn raise awareness to the public and therefore may solve the issues.

India is a country with rich resources and biodiversity. Social and economic inequalities have existed in India since the ancient past and are still continuing today in different levels. There is the rural and urban divide in India. While cities are developing fast in all parameter and have become a hub of trade, hospitality industry, education, tourism and private companies offering opportunities for employment, villages are still lacking in these areas. This is also reflected upon the people of India. In terms of gender inequality, women are not given the same level of status to men. Although there are laws that prohibits the discrimination against women, exploitation, harassment and molestation still continues. So why haven’t these issues been met or resolved?

Bringing up an issue and resolving it is not as simple as it looks. Through designs, designers have the ability to raise their voice and put forward their message which not only showcases their work but also help the one’s in need. Archana Kumari is a folk artist from Buhar who works in the fashion and textile industry, more specifically Sujuni. Sujuni is a term known for its straight stitch embroidery over layered cotton and silk fabric. For Kumari, each sujuni pieces carries a story of “the trauma of being a woman in a man’s work, domestic violence, female infanticide, effects of alcoholism and gambling on a family and similar issues.” [1] The delicacy and intricacy of the embroidery highlight and expresses the difficulties of rural women and creates a visual representation of peace. This further creates awareness a­­nd brings the issue forward in hope to grab the public and media’s attention. image1

The act of drawing or painting portraits on walls in India is very common. Walls are commonly reserved for images of politicians, actors and other figures with some high levels of authority. But when artist Daniel Connell takes over a wall and paints three large faces of local people of India, drawing attention to not only India but also all across the world. Connell’s mural extends the same level of dignity and respect to locals. His pubic artwork that appeared in Fort Kochi involves portraits of local citizens of India such as Achu’s teashop employee.SONY DSC

Art and design are powerful tools that can bring forward an issue or a message in hope to gather people’s support and therefore tackle the problem.


[1] Artist Statement: Archana Kumari, written by House, July 2013, Sangam, published in 2012, <>, viewed on 19 October 2013

[2] Artists Take the Ethical Path Between Autralia and India, written by House, May 2013, Sangam, published in 2012, <> viewed on 19 2013


Admin, December 2012, Kochi Muziris Biennale of Contemporary, sourced at Daniel Connell – Australian Visual Artist, <>, viewed on 22 October 2013

Archana Kumari embroidery, Artist StatesmentL Archana Kumari, Sangam, July 2013, <> viewed on 22 October 2013 ­­­


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s