Published: 07th May 2020
'Why must we bring politics into this as well?' The artist behind Orukudayil Oruma, that depicts Kerala's COVID-19 fight asks
The digital painting went viral on various social media platforms for representing Kerala's struggle to control the Coronavirus and also caused some controversy when it was politicised by an MLA
A student of Animation Film Design at the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad, Ashin Munnu had just returned home for his semester break when the Coronavirus lockdown was declared. Thankful to be home during such a difficult time, on April 17, he created an illustrated animated GIF representing Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the Minister of Health and Social Justice KK Shailaja holding a large umbrella that covered the health workers, police officers, ordinary labourers and even the plants and animals of the state.
Two weeks later, his work titled Orukudayil Oruma (United under one umbrella) was plastered all over social media. He says, “I did not expect such an endearing response. I was just awestruck by our state’s massive struggle against COVID-19. I felt like the world should see our unity.”
However, a few days later, BJP MLA O Rajagopal shared the same work — except here, Prime Minister Narendra Modi holds a larger saffron umbrella over those seen in Ashin’s work. This was received by a large outcry on social media for belittling the state’s struggle. Amidst all this, Ashin simply says, “I don’t even understand what happened there. Why must we bring politics into this as well? You cannot use the art for your personal purposes no matter who you are.”
Ashin has been stunning people with his talent since his days winning prize after prize at school youth festivals. It was in 2016 when he enrolled himself in college that he started sharing his work on social media. In 2019, the 22-year-old was credited for his animation work in Lijo Jose Pellissery’s film, Jallikkattu.
Ashin says, “I never worked on particular themes. If something touches me, I would try and recreate it. The last time, I had worked on a social theme was when there were constant attacks in the country against revolutionary writers.” Currently, more than 20,000 people have viewed Orukudayil Oruma on Instagram and he continues to receive grateful responses on Facebook and other platforms.