At 21-years-old, Indian artist and illustrator Jijo Das is winning the praise of people around the world with his art. This year, Jijo’s design has been chosen for World Down Syndrome Day’s #LotsOfSocks campaign, he tells us how we can all learn from each other.
With continual support from his family, Jijo Das has been creating art since he was very young, with his work becoming more impressive with age.
Attending a poly-technic, an animation studio called Anicipate and playing the drums, Jijo is continually learning and advancing his work.
“I am going to Anicipate to learn to become a professional illustrator. Neerav Doshi, founder and lead-animator at Anicipate, and my other animator friends in Anicipate show me many new things – I like to experiment,” explains Jijo.
“My polytechnic also gives me projects I have to complete within the given time.”
Jijo’s older brother, Aniket, designs motorbikes and also gives Jijo projects to work on, showing him knew skills and techniques.
“He is my first inspiration, I always sketched when he sat [down] to sketch,” reveals Jijo. “Sometimes I sketch and draw new designs [for] cars and bikes and show him.
“When I started to take art seriously, I began with copying as my elder brother taught me and I followed all that he said.”
Jijo also cites his mother, Moushumi, as one of his main inspirations, both in art and in everyday life, he enthuses: “All the time she inspires me, sits with me, takes me to art school, [to] art teachers, exhibitions, shows me famous paintings, and tells me stories.”
As a boy, Jijo first learnt to draw from books on how to draw popular Disney and Pixar characters, with his favourites including Moana, Rapunzel and Simba. Now, he comes up with his own ideas which are advanced by his teachers.
With his passion and determination, Jijo knows he can achieve whatever he puts his mind to.
This passion is what inspired Jiji to submit a design for the official 2020 #LotsOfSocks for World Down Syndrome Day, taking place on 21 March. For Jijo it holds personal importance, allowing him to show the world that Down’s syndrome doesn’t and won’t hold him or other people back.
“This is a very special day for us, I think,” explains Jijo. “Many Down’s syndrome individuals gather together, we make friends, hear their stories and I feel very good to meet with many other Down’s syndrome children, each one has something new to tell me.”
When he found out his design had been selected he recalls dancing with his family with joy. For him, it is important to use his art to show the wider community exactly what people living with Down’s syndrome can achieve.
“I feel we can do everything – running, swimming, gymnastics, office work, dancing, and all,” he emphasises. “We all learn from each other.”
With high hopes for the future, Jijo wants to be a professional artist and inspire other people with Down’s syndrome to pursue art as an interest.