At 20, Anshuman Gupta has completed six years in spreading awareness on preventive cancer measures through his paintings. Gupta, a Parel (Mumbai) resident, was in class IX when doctors of Tata Memorial Hospital (Parel) asked him to paint for them.
“Doctors saw my paintings and approached me. I agreed, and since then I have been painting and making cartoons to raise awareness on harmful effects of tobacco,” said Gupta.
Gupta has not received any professional training, but drawing is his passion. His artwork depicts how various tobacco products are dangerous to life and he believes paintings and cartoons have more power to convey any message to masses easily.
“It is easy to communicate through visuals and impact of pictures is more than verbal or written messages,” added Gupta.
His mother Subhadra Gupta, who works as a research statistician in department of preventive oncology, said he painted his first cartoon for Smoke-Free Mumbai campaign.
“I am happy that at a very young age, Anshuman got an opportunity to use his talent for a good cause. He reaches out to people and spreads awareness on social causes like cancer prevention through his talent. Any pictorial message catches people’s attention faster,” said Subhadra.
Gupta is currently studying in MIT Institute of Design in Pune. “I want to sharpen my creative skills and better my work for preventive cancer awareness as well as other social causes,” he said.
Dr Gauravi Mishra, associate professor and physician, department of preventive oncology at Tata Memorial Hospital, said Gupta’s drawings have been converted into health education material, which is used by organisations working for cancer prevention.
“Children understand better through cartoons and drawings, so this medium can be used effectively for spreading awareness about harmful effects of tobacco. Gupta has been working with us for other activities related to tobacco control for over five years now. His contribution with his paintings is noteworthy,” said Mishra.
Tobacco kills nearly 6 million people worldwide each year. India is second largest consumer of tobacco. In India, nearly 40 % of cancers are related to tobacco products such as beedis, cigarettes, chillum, hookah, khaini, gutkha, paan masala, mawa and mishri. People who use such tobacco products are at risk for several cancers, such as mouth, lung and throat.
Tata Memorial Hospital has been conducting various awareness campaigns, along with counselling sessions, for various social groups to spread awareness. “Addiction is not a solution to get over problems of life. There are many other ways to deal with it. We have only one life and we must make the best of it,” said Gupta.