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Exploring Queer Art and Artists

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Raj Naik
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queer art

Shreya Shetty, a queer photographer and Hip Hop artist MC LIt, shares about queer art and the aftermath of their journey in becoming an artist. 

Queer aesthetics, queer art, LGBTQIA+ art or the art that represents queer people! Growing up I wasn't artistic at all. Not even a tad. But when I grew up and came out of the closet like a turtle trying to pop out from its shell, I was heavily judged by other queer folks for not being artistic enough! There’s no such thing as “all queer people are artistic”. Art comes from within! It comes from the personality that you carry and the way you express yourself to others. But art has its own definition and segregation and can be put into different boxes. Queer art is a form of art where people express their true identity through music, paintings and sculptures. 

Queer art is a way, an escape for some people who are judged and put into boxes of stereotypes. It is a way of breaking through those norms and proving that everything they were told couldn’t, wouldn’t or shouldn’t happen to them, can, will, and should! From breaking stereotypes, and knowing what’s important to them as a queer artist to keeping the art alive for the queer community and more, we spoke to Shreya Shetty, a queer photographer and MC LIt, a Hip Hop artist about their journey in becoming an artist and its aftermath. 

If you search for art, there’s no definite definition per se, it’s an amalgamation of various aspects of life put together into a form that is called art. Shreya thinks that art can be anywhere and it’s not for someone to see but it merely exists all of the time until some are fortunate enough to witness the same. On the other hand, MC LIt believes that art is a way to express feelings and to give a message to society that can bring up some change.

We love boldness and when it comes to creating art, MC Lit thinks one’s boldness is the key! As she is an openly queer rapper herself, she says, “I like to say things straight up and that's what I put into my art. I create rap songs, poetry and I believe music is a powerful way to bring revolution and change.” Shreya goes the polar opposite with her views on one’s identity being drawn or inspired by creating art as she is a highly emotional and intuitive person when it comes to her art. 

Art through the decades has stayed to make a change and given the current social and political climate surrounding queer rights and representation, the future of queer art can be in danger. Shreya beautifully explains the given scenario. “I am only more and more hopeful of queer art and artists finally getting their due. We’ve been here all along and now we’re finally getting the stage time that we were always meant to have because we deserve a platform like any other.” On the other hand, MC Lit strongly believes that queer art will get equal respect, and opportunity as straight people have. 

Behind every piece of art, there’s an inspo that takes the lead. Be it paintings, sculptures, writing, social-political movements, fashion, dance, or drag - inspiration for Shreya comes from everywhere but what excites her more is the pulse of the crowd, the pride and the opulence. And with every inspiration drawn and art created, there’s the hate and anguish that comes along! MC Lit, with positive and negative sides in society, chooses to be with the positive side and hence hasn't encountered any obstacles being a queer artist. 

People talk about paying the due where it’s deserved but do queer artists get paid well? What initiatives can we take to support them? MC Lit feels there should be a platform where artists can connect with other artists to put out their art and should have the community's support. Shreya, on the other hand, believes that recognition is not enough! “PAY YOUR QUEERS! No barters. No exposure. None of that. We’ve got bills to pay and a mind and body to constantly take care of because the world is a big place filled with bigots and unfortunately money runs the show most of the time!”

 

Queer art is here to celebrate the diversity, creativity, and resilience of the queer community, as well as raise awareness and visibility for their struggles and achievements. Queer people have been creating art since forever and we are definitely here to stay!

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MC LIt shreya shetty Queer Art