Pranitart: Illustrating Mental Health in India

Pranita Kocharekar is an artist from Mumbai, India. She studied Graphic Design, Advertising & majored in Type Design and became a self taught illustrator.  After graduating, she realised that the hustle of everyday life made it difficult to keep illustrating consistently. With the hope of being able to create an illustration each day, she began #pranitasdrawingaday.

Pranita was born in a family full of artists, her parents & grandparents are all artists. This gave Pranita the freedom to express herself the way she wanted ever since she was a child (which also involved the ability to draw on walls without being yelled at!). Growing up in a family that always expressed themselves, Pranita found it very easy to have a voice as an artist. Many times, she found herself being approached by strangers on the internet who would talk to her openly about problems like mental health and menstrual problems,. since they did not have a relationship with their families that allowed them the freedom to speak about these issues. To normalize all these problems, Pranita speaks about them openly & casually to encourage her followers and  Indian society at large to speak about the same.

This project started about three and a half years ago. The goal back then was to never lose touch with her basic skills - drawing. Eventually, Pranita began exploring this medium in the form of a diary, observing her surroundings  documenting her life. Over time, Pranita noticed that people took interest in her drawings leading to a following of roughly 25,000 on her Instagram.

Pranita seeks inspiration from her day to day life. Since she is better at expressing herself via visuals than words, she chooses to translate her thoughts, emotions and ideas in the form of visuals to convey to a large audience.  She often seeks inspiration from books as well. She believes books have taught her more than what education could teach her. 

Over the years, this project became more than just practice, it lent to her developing a sense of discipline; journaling her ideas channeled areas of illustration and drawing that would have otherwise gone unnoticed in her mind.  With the help of her newfound drive, Pranita began using her established platform to discuss matters that she felt didn’t receive much light. She began with understanding the stigma around mental health and spread awareness of the important

She spoke about anxiety, depression, eating disorders, body shaming, and explaining a few ideas that may have been alien to people in her country.

In India, attending therapy is a taboo subject that people often avoid discussing. One who want to go to therapy for whatever reason it may be is often approached as if though they were insane or completely unstable. To fight this stigma, Pranita spoke about how and why therapy is important. Here. She speaks in favour of the LGBTQ and normalize the idea of love being love on her feed. Here. And also promotes the idea of gender fluidity & stereotyping Here.

Other than illustrating, Pranita likes spending her time reading. She is always found with a book & documents her reviews as well. Her favourite form of meditation is running/ working out or cooking. In an attempt to share her other interests with the world, she documented her fitness routine for 30 days which helped some people to start working out. She also shares her favourite recipes to promote healthy eating. Pranita's personal life mostly consists of spending quality time with her family, boyfriend & friends over the weekends.

Sophia Naqvi