Instagram marks International Womxn’s Day with stickers by five female illustrators
The illustrators – Rosa Kusabbi, Manon Louart, Linoca Souza, Monica Obaga and Reya Ahmed – explain their inspiration for the celebratory series depicting strength, courage and fun.
- Jenny Brewer
- 8 March 2021
Today is International Womxn’s Day and to help Instagrammers celebrate, the social media platform has commissioned five female illustrators to create special stickers to add to their Stories. Hailing from Liverpool, Paris, São Paulo, New York and LA (via Nairobi), the artists were asked to convey the power and resilience of womxn around the world, and have drawn inspiration from a broad range of personal influences to create their depiction.
Rosa Kusabbi is a printmaker and animator based in Liverpool whose work centres around female empowerment and social issues, so felt “proud and happy,” to be “recognised and given briefs that reflect my values and champion all womxn”. Her depiction focuses on motherhood, using her style of exaggerated features (such as hands) and perspective to emphasise messages within the work. “I think this gives the feeling of the mother’s protective nature and bond with the child,” Kusabbi says. “I also really wanted to embrace the beauty in leg and arm hair, something that’s not often portrayed on womxn, especially not mothers. I wanted to make a real body positive image; soft rounded shapes but something that still holds a lot of power.”
Monica Obaga, an illustrator from Nairobi now based in LA, is known for her work that draws influence from a mix of Kenyan traditional styles and portrays a positive African image. Her sticker shows two characters dancing together in an embrace, depicting female friendships, fun and “being 100 per cent yourself,” she explains. “They're holding each other and singing because those are things we haven't done in a year. To all the womxn in my life, especially those providing in-person care, I can't wait to hug you and be absolutely silly together! We'll get through this.”
Brazilian illustrator Linoca Souza’s sticker celebrates the female form in a more abstract way, her figurative piece showing a character striking a pose that demonstrates “courage and good energy,” she says. “I want to celebrate female strength and courage, remembering that we are all powerful, regardless of any apparent limitations.” Manon Louart’s piece shows an elderly woman holding a flag, paying tribute “to the women who paved the way for us”. And Reya Ahmed’s sticker shows three womxn, one behind the other with supportive hands on their shoulders, at the front a healthcare worker in a face mask. The artist is known for using her work to explore feminism, queer identity and her experiences of growing up in a Bengali-Muslim household.
Curator of the series, Instagram's Kristen Joy Watts, says the series “brings to life the experiences of women who are disabled, healthcare workers, motherhood and more,” and hopes that people use them to “create their own individual celebrations of womxn from around the world”.
The stickers are available to use on Instagram, found in the Featured section of Stories today.
Instagram's International Womxn's Day campaign (Copyright © Instagram, 2021)
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Jenny oversees our editorial output across work, news and features. She was previously It’s Nice That's news editor. Get in touch with any big creative stories, tips, pitches, news and opinions, or questions about all things editorial.