Skip To Content

    This Feminist Desi Artist's Work On Body Image And Mental Illness Is Straight-Up Magical

    Joanna Thangiah is on a mission to make you love yourself.

    Meet Joanna Thangiah, a Sri Lankan full-time artist based in Sydney.

    Thangiah's art revolves around feminism, body positivity, and mental illness. In 2013 she was diagnosed with four mental illnesses.

    Joanna Thangiah / Via Instagram: @joannathangiah

    "In December 2014, I started drawing because it helped me deal with all the thoughts that were floating in my head, and helped me love the fat girl that I had become," Thangiah told BuzzFeed.

    Joanna Thangiah / Via

    "What's upsetting about body images issues and shaming in South Asian communities is that the effects of it don’t get discussed, everything gets swept under the rug," she said.

    Of course, she encounters trolls daily. "It’s annoying but all it does is reinforce why I do what I do," she says.

    Joanna Thangiah
    Joanna Thangiah / Via instagram
    Joanna Thangiah

    "I was raised thinking that having darker skin and too big of a nose was ugly. As my mother put it, I’ve been 'blessed' with 'fair' skin, yet anytime I went out into the sun and came home a little darker, I would get called ugly," the artist told BuzzFeed.

    Joanna Thangiah

    "Children shouldn’t be thinking about changing their appearance and anxiety attacks are no fun," she added.

    Joanna Thangiah / Via

    A lot of Thangiah's work is also based on the social struggles of being part of the diaspora.

    Joanna Thangiah

    In August 2015, she opened up a store where she sells prints and merchandise of her art, and people are loving it.

    Joanna Thangiah

    You can check out her sweet patriarchy-smashin' merch here.

    BuzzFeed Daily

    Keep up with the latest daily buzz with the BuzzFeed Daily newsletter!

    Newsletter signup form