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Homophobia in Russia: Illustrating the point

Tackling prejudice through art...


Many people have a lot of things to say about the current situation in Russia regarding homosexuality and the enforcement of Putin's anti-LGBT laws. There have been marches, protests and petitions, loudly calling out against the exploitation of human rights. For Anna Goodson, the founder of the eponymous agency for artists and illustrators, "Art speaks louder than words" and that is why she asked her talented illustrators to draw a picture based on the state of affairs in Russia.

Goodson says she was "really disturbed by what's been going on in Russia and the horrific treatment of homosexuals in the country", she asked her illustrators to help her make a statement that was "meaningful, personal and from the heart". A statement that these gifted creatives don't support discrimination against religion, race or sexual orientation in any way. The resulting illustrations are colourful and powerfully beautiful, drawing inspiration from Russian culture, decoration and architecture as well as Olympic imagery.

The illustrator Grems created an image based on communist propaganda, with a woman shouting for gay rights, while Marisa Morea took one of Russia's most identifiable symbols, the nesting dolls, and drew a picture that charmingly represents lesbianism. Within the sugary colours, the message is strong. Artist Costhanzo depicts Putin's head as an Olympic medal hanging on rainbow-coloured ribbons, which not only tackles the anti-homosexuality laws that the Russia president has introduced but also the ramifications they will have on the Winter Olympics 2014, currently and controversially set to be held in Sochi. Terry Wong has amusingly drawn two bears (common to both Russia and the gay community) wearing rainbow vests and traditional hats standing in front of classic Russian domes. Like Morea's work, the image is cute but the statement is clear. These artists, and many more, support gay equality and do not support their prosecution.

A picture is worth a thousand words and there are plenty of illustrators in the Anna Goodson agency making their voices heard through their art. Goodson hopes the work of these illustrators will help to make this a better and more tolerant world to live in. They're not shouting along the streets but they are still making a statement, and they're doing it creatively and colourfully.

View the full selection of images and support the illustrators at Anna Goodson's Website.

Words: Darcy Rive

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