Art for Covid relief

The second wave of the pandemic has brought with it tragedy on a mass scale. Artists are doing their bit to raise money and help

Art for Covid relief

A ‘pichwai’ (The Artemist).

Bindu Gopal Rao

Art for art’s sake — artists have often been chided. But in these unprecedented times, they stand with the country, helping people fight the dark times through their art, in ways both direct and indirect. Artists are coming up with a slew of initiatives to help NGOs and organisations in their fight against Covid-19.

Anwar Chitrakar’s ‘Kalighat Hookah’ (Baro Market).

Hyderabad-based Art for Covid Relief, for instance, is an initiative that aims to encourage the act of donation towards NGOs by giving people a happy incentive of art. “We are a team of 25-plus full-time and part-time artists taking art orders in return for our clients’ donations. In a span of 20 days, we have managed to raise donations of over Rs2 lakh for around 15-17 NGOs,” say Amitha Gopidi, a software engineer, and Sarigama Yerra, a research student.

These NGOs primarily work for procurement of oxygen cylinders/concentrators, food for the needy, support for the elderly and children orphaned because of Covid-19. At Art for Covid Relief, they maintain utter transparency as the clients directly donate to NGOs; the platform itself does not handle any money. “A person gets to choose the NGO/cause he wants to support. In return, he can request for an artwork of his choice.”

Sahil Arora, founder and curator of Mumbai-based Method Art Space, says they are contributing 100 per cent of the share of sales towards food distribution. They have been joined by artists Rema Chaudhary, Aniruddh Mehta and Kunel Gaur. “Essential items are provided to almost 50 families that live in the Versova beach slums,” he says.

Mounika Reddy Kokatam’s ‘Grandmother’ (Art for Covid Relief).

Sometimes, the collaborations are art-specific. For instance, The Artemist, an art consulting platform in Kolkata, joined hands with Young President’s Organisation, Bengaluru, and donated 100 per cent of the proceeds of a hand-painted portrait to Covid warriors from the city. The painting was sold at an auction held by YPO. “We have also organised an art fundraiser in association with Kolkata Gives foundation to help those in need of oxygen and hospital beds. A set of eight digital art prints has been created for our clients to choose from,” says Aradhana Dalmia, founder & CEO, The Artemist.

Since the idea is to join hands with more and more people, in the process, art, often considered out of their reach by common people, has also been made affordable. “We are selling prints and originals by amazing illustrators and some great names in the art industry. Prints are varied in terms of topics and sizes. Artworks are a good mix of landscapes to typographic pieces and thematic illustrations. We have kept the prices of the prints very reasonable so that people willing to contribute do not feel discouraged, and we are getting a great response. The proceeds will go to GiveIndia,” says Lokesh Karekar, founder, Locopopo Design Studio, Mumbai.

While the pandemic has spared none, among the worst hit have been artists. As such, some efforts are directed their way too. Srila Chatterjee, founder, Baro Market, Mumbai, organised a Chitrakar Relief Fund. “This was a drive to specifically raise funds for the 10 artists that we have worked with for long. We facilitated the sale of their art, where we ensured that they got 100 per cent of what the buyer paid.”

Amid the struggle for life, some artists have bridged the gap between people and art. Sooner or later, life will find meaning too. For now, we could perhaps say ‘creativity takes courage’.

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