M.I.A. – MATANGI 

Matangi/Maya/M.I.A. is a 2018 biographical documentary film about English rapper and artist M.I.A. As per The Guardian is “portrait of a swaggering scandal-magnet”.

M.I.A. – fineliner and markers.

When watching the documentary, you will realise that M.I.A. is not only another rapper popping on the Billboard lists. She is a Sri Lankan refugee that moved to London aged eight together with her mum. Throughout her art craft she is trying to raise the awareness of how the political situation of her homeland is shaping. Even she did not grow up in her country of birth, she is still deeply connected to her own roots and tries to use her position as a channel to get the west world to act, not only passively watch the development of the civil war taking place in her native island. 

By risking her own life, she went with an amateur camera to her father’s house, was documenting and later making public what was happening in Sri Lanka at the time. 

Her brutally touching visuals she was posting on twitter (e.g. people getting shoot in a head), got dismissed and passed without any echo. Only when she used same scene in one of her music videos, and instead of non-relatable to west-world Asian man one of ginger-Americans died, she was called scandalous and her intentions were questioned. 

On another hand, she had no support from Sri Lankan government as well, they publicly accused her of cooperating with The Liberation Tigers and called her a terrorist. 

Later in her career, her music was banned from commercial radios and music videos would not be played on TV stations. 

Against all odds she still creates with passion and always fights for refugee rights, doesn’t matter where they are from or for what reason they had to leave their country. 

M.I.A. manifesto
Sketchbook pages – Liquidex markers

M.I.A. is a strong individual, that highly inspired me to made my artwork more meaningful. 

Here’s a digital illustration of her performing on Super Bowl.

After her performance supporting Madonna in 2012 she was escorted out and the NFL sued her for 16.6 milion dollars for showing the middle finger.

M.I.A. – Super Bowl 2012 – Digital illustration in ProCreate

When They See Us. 

When They See Us is 2019 American drama co-written and directed by Ava DuVernay. 

This available on Netflix drama tells a story of Central Park Five, where five young black and Hispanic men, aged between 14 and 16 were found guilty and jailed for the rape of 28-years-old white Trisha Meili. 

They never committed the crime. With no sufficient evidence and bending the rules all of them were put in prison for 12 years and more.

The series showcases the injustice of the system and racism in the United States of America in the late 80’s and early 90’s. 

They were set free after the truth reaper came forward and admitted to the committed crime.

I remember all these emotions that went through me when I was watching the documentary, thinking how much respect I have got for Ava DuVernay for telling the untold, however very needed, truth.

Nowadays, in 2019 we still are experiencing racism, xenophobia and may other acts of hate one to another, therefore it inspired me to use my art as a source for communicating issues that quite often are overlooked or pretend to be not seen. 

watching ‘When They See Us’ got me all sweaty and teared up.

Bialystok 2019, Poland – The Pride Parade 

Nor God, nor honor was shown at the happening in Bialystok. There was about 800 peacefully marching participants during the Pride event in Bialystok (PL); on the other side there were almost as twice as much anti-LGBTQ+ violent protestants, who were throwing stones, firecrackers and bottles of urine, accompanied with shouting out insults at those taking part in the parade. 

We say “No!” to attack on our children. We won’t be intimidated. We will protect Polish families. — PiS election campaign.

Sadly, these antagonists have got a silent permission form the government and The Church, in fact they are being encouraged to sabotage LGBTQ+ events. After the recent one form July (2019) The Church issued official thanks for standing up to Christian values and protecting humanity and the family figure. 

Being gay myself, it was not easy growing up in a country where there is so much hate towards anything that is different. Eventually when I turned eighteen I came out, and had to leave my family house and later I moved out and settled down in London.  

The events from July 2019 were the Eureka moment for this project. It is perhaps because this is very personal to me and it really touched my raw nerve. I was hoping that my generation would be more open-mined and welcoming, instead they are getting vocal and physical – unfortunately all for the wrong instances. 

I decided then that instead drawing only beautiful flowers and landscapes, I may as well get more political, reveal my opinions and support the right movements. 

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