From the moment the vegan flag was launched, it was developed by artists from various fields and soon became an icon that serves many products in the fields of fashion, accessories, photography, jewelry, animation and more …
Being an excellent tool for activism for the promotion of veganism, it can be seen in demonstrations around the world and in various exhibits whose aim is one – the total liberation of all animals.
Among all the products and items that have been made, the artwork of the Dutch artist Maria Tiqwah, who with her great talent created the coat of arms of the vegan flag, is particularly striking.
In a long correspondence about the coat of arms with Maria, I got to know her amazing personality and was exposed to her works, all aimed at a better world for all people and animals.
I’m glad Maria agreed to be interviewed on a few questions, here’s the interview:
I would be happy if you could tell a little about yourself.
I am a happy vegan of 35, born in The Netherlands and living in Istanbul (Turkey) with my husband from Iraq and our 4 cats. Good words to describe me might be creative, colourful and a bit odd.
What are your sources of inspiration?
Animals are my number one inspiration. My parents attic lies full of my drawings since I could hold a pencil, and… they are all animals. My mother even told me my first word was ‘cat’ and my second word was ‘fish’. Although I always saw myself as an ‘animal lover’, when I went vegan in 2011 ‘animal lover’ got a different meaning and I wanted to help the animals. A year later a quit my job and started my own green advertising agency and worked for clients like the Dutch political Party for the Animals, The Vegetarian Butcher, Animal & Rights, and many other animal charities. Besides my advertising work, painting animals has always been a passion. Another source of inspiration is nature and the beautiful old buildings with baroque details here in Istanbul. I live near the Yildiz Park, which once was the garden of the Yildiz Palace. It’s my favorite spot to relax and study nature.
What brought you to draw the coat of arms?
I instantly loved the vegan flag when I first saw it! For my vegan webshop with organic and fair clothing I wanted to make a T-shirt design inspired by the vegan flag, but I didn’t know how it should look like. Later, when I was enjoying a cup of tea on a terrace, someone walked by with a coat of arms on his T-shirt. At that moment I decided to make a coat of arms for the vegan flag. With animals off course. I chose the cow, piglet, and rooster because they are some of the most exploited animals. I feel incredibly honored that the Vegan Flag designer asked me if my painting could become the official Vegan Flag coat of arms! I didn’t hesitate a moment and agreed to make my painting free to use for everyone. So you can download it now for free and print it on a T-shirt by yourself, make posters, get a tattoo or whatever! Seeing vegan images on the street makes me smile and I hope to see the vegan flag and the coat of arms more and more often
What technique have you used for painting the coat of arms?
I used vegan materials: soft pastel, watercolour, black fineliner and white gel pen on paper. I love soft pastel because of the bright colours. Watercolour is great for sharp details like the hairs. I used the black fineliner for the text and the white gel pen for white details like the lights in the eyes.
Do you think art for animals can be a form of activism?
Yes, absolutely! For example in Turkey pigs are generally seen as ‘dirty’. But when my art teacher showed my piglet painting, the whole class was smiling and said ‘awww, so cute!’ Images can change minds. With my animal paintings, I want to let people look at animals through my eyes. I want to show them as unique personalities who can feel emotions, pain, and pleasure just like us. I would love to encourage all vegans who enjoy making any kind of art, to express their feelings and views about animals through their work. Here are some interesting links: Aisha Ponders about art as vegan activism, making art for vegan charities, and vegan art from around the world.