“What you seek is seeking you” by Rumi
This vivacious young woman is seeking true tales of fathers and daughters across the universe and creating ripple effect through her soulfully illustrated series ‘My Father illustrations’. Meet the talented artist and a beautiful soul Debasmita Dasgupta who is also known as Smita and is in love with her sketch book since childhood. She works as a development communications manager in Singapore and is the founder artist of the art initiative ‘My Father Illustrations.’
Born and raised in Kolkata, India, in a middle-class family. Being the only child, Debasmita had a very close bond with her parents, especially her father. She applied in her life what her father; Pradip Dasgupta said to her years back that “Life is all about knowing oneself and respecting others.” This ideal became the foundation of her philosophy. Her illustrations reflect the same. Drawing started as a hobby during her childhood days soon after she started holding crayons and pencil. She did her schooling from Patha Bhavan and was fond of going to school. During her school days always managed time between classes and lunch break to doodle. Debasmita is an avid reader of comic books since childhood. Her mind would soak up all the details in their illustrations. She visualised the comic stories in front of her. Comic books were food for her creativity since her school days. As she grew up, she turned this love into a passion, illustrated for close friends.
During her college years in Scottish Church College, Debasmita came across many artists, painters whose work influenced her a lot. And even though she studied science as a major, she never ceased to illustrate, sometimes even at the cost of her studies. Illustrations helped her to express herself better and also helped her to unleash her highest potential as an individual and an artist. She can doodle tirelessly for hours. It was in 2008 that she decided to turn this passion into a profession when she got a chance to publish her first children’s picture book, “The Friday Fair” (2010) with KATHA. There was no turning back afterwards. She plunged into a vast ocean where every wave is a new inspiration. Every story has a new colour and flavour of its own. Discoveries were inspirational and endless.
She has a full-time career as a development communications manager — a job she is highly passionate about. But illustrations give her peace of mind and happiness. Debasmita continue to illustrate for her personal ventures — those meaningful initiatives that she have created to share her art with the rest of the world. She also takes up illustration assignments for non-profits, particularly with organizations working on women and child rights.
My Father illustrations started from a TED Talk by an Afghani woman, ShabanaBasij-Rasikh. Shabana grew up in Afghanistan during the Taliban regime. In the TED talk, Shabana talks about how girls were not allowed to go to school during that regime. But it was Shabana’s father who gave her the support and courage to continue with school. He told Shabana, “The Taliban can take everything from you, but not your knowledge.” Shabana went on to complete her schooling, pursued her master’s degree from America and now she’s back in Kabul, where she runs a school for Afghan girls. Had it not been for her father, Shabana would have never been able to walk the path she finally chose.She shared the story of how her father helped her to continue with her studies against all odds during the Taliban regime. She quoted her father, “We will let nothing stop your education, even if we have to sell our blood for it.”The talk struck a chord with Debasmita, who is very close to her father too.
Debasmita was completely taken over by Shabana’s story. This story created a deep impact on Debasmita’s heart and mind. It reminded her of her father’s strong ideals. She thought, there must be many other fathers, in different corners of the world, who fearlessly stand for the rights of their children. Why aren’t enough people talking about these stories? There should be a way to showcase and share such untold tales. Every positive story can create another.
Then she thought what will be the best way for her to communicate those stories? She didn’t have to look any further than her study table. Her sketch book was waiting for her to create these illustrations for change. Her answer was ‘My illustrations’. The idea came like a bolt of lightning, but it changed her forever. Within a week, she started the “mYFaTHer” illustrated series dedicated to fathers who fight for child rights.
Every child-related issue needs the direct involvement of children. We need to hear from them with a very open mind and heart to faithfully address such issues. That’s why fathers and daughters are equal owners of “mYFaTHer” illustrations. The picture stories are not just about how fathers stand for their children but also about how the children imagine them to stand for them. The action and the struggle of the children are also beautifully portrayed.
Currently “mYFaTHer Illustrations” is an online initiative in the form of a Facebook page, through which she is trying to reach out to hundred thousand people and many more.
Debasmita’s father is her ideal. He is a self-made man of strong principles. This father daughter duo has no barrier, no secrets, and although they argue over many things, her father’s eyes pop up when listening to her opinions. Her father is a deep listener, trying to engage with people, and always telling them to follow their heart. He wanted his daughter, Debasmita to follow the truth, but to find it first.
Stunning original illustrations based on powerful stories of fathers and daughters. There is no room for negativity in this series. A midst of so much negativities and intolerance around the world, “My Father Illustrations” gives hope and spread smiles. It gives courage to do well and to live like an example. Fathers are courage and strength for their daughters.
Debasmita encourages all the readers to join the page and help her spread the word. Do read more courageous tales of fathers and daughters from around the world on Facebook Link: https://www.facebook.com/myfatherIllustrations
Share Debasmita’s story if it inspired you.
Note: This story is part of The Phenomenal Woman Series launched by Papercup.
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Poulomi is a story-teller. She weaves the best of stories under the name “Better Stories”. Papercup has collaborated with Better Stories to explore what we can do with kids. She is weaving the stories published in the 2nd chapter of The Phenomenal Woman campaign.