Indonesia’s opportunity to maximize cultural identity through Indonesian-style Muslim fashion
Anoop Keshari, 23, is an illustrative designer, a digital arts enthusiast and a postgraduate at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. He owns a digital art sharing platform, Impractical_1, with over 350,000 followers on Instagram. He believes in finding ways to help people have an uplifting experience through art. He is actively involved in ecological sustainability and nature conservation. He wants to contribute and contribute to changing the world – cleaner, greener and healthier. He believes in humanity and equality and is committed to it.
Tell us more about why you started the @impractical_01 Instagram page?
I started impractical_1 in 2016 to find a way out into the world, be a part of meme culture and look cool around my friends. In the first few weeks I posted everything that could go viral. On an odd day I posted something about body shaming and it got a lot of negative comments. It was an eye-opening event for me. I realized that the complications of a meme lie in what people find appropriate to express an opinion, no matter how simple or pointless or toxic it might be. Impractical_1 is about expressing change and connectivity; built by combining concepts of art and culture across digital and international borders.
Because the site has a clear feminist orientation. Can you tell us more about how feminism has shaped your life?
Yes, the site has a feminist focus, as Feminist Art does not discriminate geographically but connects voices worldwide. Coming from a conservative background, Working on Impractical_1 has completely overhauled my way of thinking and my understanding of the average person’s problems and struggles in life. Through my interaction with the artists, I have not only explored gender identity through art, but also the racial, queer and other aspects of identity that shape diversity in the world. The platform also allowed me to collaborate with people from the body positivity movement, women’s empowerment groups, menstrual health activists and mental health awareness initiatives who have significantly influenced my views and shaped my ideas.
Why did you choose Instagram as a medium to express your opinion and your art?
As we know, Instagram is primarily a visual platform with hundreds of millions of monthly active users, which is absolutely perfect for art. Instagram as a medium offers a socially engaging space to tell your story, share your opinions and inspiration. Sharing art via Instagram has not only contributed to aesthetic admiration, but has inspired the viewer to question the social and political landscape. And through that inquiry, potentially impacting the world to bring about change toward equality and inclusivity.
Do you think social media can play a positive role in shaping youth, especially with multiple narratives in the play?
Yes, social media plays a very positive role in forming opinions. Social media has diversified and democratized activism, opening up participation for everyone. By removing distance and geographic barriers, social media facilitates public dialogue and creates a platform for awareness and change. Youth worldwide are using social media and hashtag campaigns to raise awareness and immerse themselves in different movements. But at the same time I think you have to be careful; Social media can also be an echo chamber. It can amplify any of our beliefs to the point of beginning to deny all the opposing narratives.
Tell us more about the causes you are passionate about?
I am very interested in politics and political drawings to address social issues and stigma. I am very interested in the stigma of mental health in society. These are internalized by individuals and act as a barrier to who can or may access treatment services. I want to better understand and mitigate the dimensions of mental health stigma and help create a positive environment for everyone seeking professional health. Aside from that, I want to contribute to campaigns to eradicate the myths and misinformation about menstrual health in India. I believe in humanity and equality and I am committed to it.
Where do you see the @impractical_1 page in the next five years?
I want to split it into two main categories. The first will be dedicated to social campaigns and removing stigma in society. And the other to help monetize the artworks, creating an ecosystem that can only sustain itself through a network of artists and volunteers. Currently we have an annual reach of 25-30 million users on Instagram and we aim to increase the reach by 10 million new users every year.
How has the pandemic shaped the body positivity movement?
Yes, I think the pandemic has dramatically impacted the body positivity movement for both good and bad. We were all confined to our homes. The daily chaos of commuting had been restricted, as had physical exercise. Weight gain was a natural response to the stress and changes of the pandemic. Being comfortable in your own body is not an inherently easy task. And feelings of self-esteem are fueled by increased social media consumption and toxic “summer body” imperatives.
At the same time, the conscious effort of the body positivity movement through various social media accounts has allowed us to accept our bodies regardless of size, shape, skin tone, gender, and physical ability. It has helped people celebrate the diversity of body aesthetics and expand our narrow standards of beauty. Above all, teaches us that all bodies are worthy of care and respect. Body positivity should be understood as a transition from limiting body shame to proper body pride. However, various companies and social media users have increasingly marketed the movement for self-serving economic gain.
How has your page helped people cope with the pandemic?
The pandemic resulted in a severe global infodemic and mental health crisis. All social media platforms endlessly manifested themselves with coronavirus-related news feeds. With the impractical_1, we avoided publishing unconfirmed facts and information altogether. We’ve focused on helping people cope with their mental well-being by building dialogue and posting content to help viewers establish a healthy routine and reconnect with themselves. At later stages, with the help of the audience, we were able to connect people in need of various medications and devices, as well as financial support, with multiple providers and donors.