Bela has been creating and drawing since 2000. She had been wanting to marry her activism and advocacy with her art for a long time. She wanted to do something around this election because she feels like people are so separated right now, but the one thing we can all get behind is we all have a voice to share and we should all vote. Born in Africa to parents who grew up in India, Bela became a citizen at 30. She waited a long time to have the right to vote. For her, voting is an incredibly important part of being American.
The woman in the front of the T is one of her favorite pieces she has ever drawn. She is meant to represent all women. The art form is inspired by East Indian Henna, an art form Bela has felt has always been in her heart and soul.
This year is the 100th year anniversary of the women's right to vote, but many black and brown women couldn't vote until 1965 because of all the barriers to their getting to the polls. The woman is drawn so we can see ourselves in her. The hair is meant to represent the spirit inside of her, who we are beyond our faces.
Back of Shirt:
VOTE because it was 100 years ago, on August 26, 1920, that women won the right to vote. VOTE because it took nearly 100 years for women to win that right. VOTE because, despite their sacrifices, most black and brown women could not vote until almost a half-century later when the Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965. VOTE because so many gave their lives so that you can. VOTE because democracy only works when we all show up. VOTE because our democracy depends on it. VOTE
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This item will be available on the site until September 20th.