Meet Babbu The Painter, The Artist Who Is Instrumentally Using Fashion For A Social Movement

Popular for her unabashed artistic take on societal taboos and patriarchal conditioning, artist Babbu the Painter shed light on the ongoing farmers’ protest through her recent body of work. Since August 2020, Indian farmers have been rallying on the street against the three agricultural bills passed by the government.  To show solidarity with this movement, Babbu initiated multiple projects over the last couple of months, where she ingeniously combined the power of art and fashion. All the proceeds from her multiple endeavours go towards organisations working to provide resources for the farmers.

Daughter Of A Farmer 

Babbu the Painter

“Being from a family of farmers, this issue is personal for me. Though I have met my grandfather a handful of times, and every time we did meet, his love language was his land. He was a farmer, so was his father and his children. I know like most diasporic children, our grandfathers, grandmothers, aunts, and uncles would have been protesting if they were alive. My work is playing a small role in a much bigger conversation as an attempt to amplify this revolution. I am a farmer’s daughter, and I stand with farmers.”

Riri’s Tweet Is Now A T-shirt 

Babbu the PainterBabbu the Painter

Pop sensation and business mogul Rihanna tweeted about the farmers’ protest two weeks ago, bringing global attention to the matter. Babbu painted the popular tweet on a canvas and converted it into a t-shirt. Amplifying the ripple effect caused by one social media post, the artist has positively documented it as a moment in pop culture. Her take, “Her tweeting about the farmers’ protest was not only iconic but historical. It created a huge influx of eyes on the issue, the good and the bad. It sent the Indian media into a frenzy. But personally, It was such a hopeful moment after months, we finally had folks speaking about the protest, and it felt great to know we had so many allies around the world. She created a much needed worldwide conversation. And I created a painting to celebrate this power move.”

Promoting Local Musicians On Ground Zero


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A post shared by BABBU (@babbuthepainter)

Nothing says peaceful protests better than musical folklore. Artist for farmers is an initiative started by Trolley Times to promote the concept of chardi kala (eternal optimism and joy), where local musicians and poets would perform at the venue and deliver farmers’ messages through the powerful medium of music. Babbu the Painter created custom posters for these artists, creating a buzz about their gigs on her social media platform, and sold the posters to collect funds for the farmers. ” It is an ongoing event (various dates) where artists of all talents come together to perform/raise spirits of the protest and the movement. My illustration was just a little contribution, and I wanted to use my platform to promote these artists who are brave enough to use their music to vocalise the issue at hand.”

Ode To The Legacy Of Punjabi Farmers


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A post shared by BABBU (@babbuthepainter)

In tandem with the Sikh Expo, Babbu launched a grass-roots project, Kanak, to create awareness about the contribution of the Sikh farmers in the agriculture industry. Screen printed t-shirts projecting the everyday life of a farmer was the first sold-out product from her long list of merchandise. “It was an initiative to create beautiful imagery and to raise awareness about the aggressive suicides of farmers in Punjab, mainly due to poverty, bank loans, etc. Farmers need to be advised and guided on economical methods of cultivation; this entails providing education on how to navigate the financial institutions to save the farmers from debt traps. And most importantly, the technological advancement in agriculture, which are rarely passed down to the small farmer. The imagery itself took over 30 + hours to create and was inspired by the daily life of a Punjabi village and Manga. I truly wanted to capture everyone’s roles into running a village of farmers.”


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