Reflect, deflect – how these MayinArt artists convey social messages while also uplifting viewers during the pandemic

In this photo essay, we share artworks and creative insights from the MayinArt platform. The pandemic is a wake-up call for reflection and positivity, the artists explain.
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Launched in 2014, PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 525 posts, we featured an art festival, cartoon gallery. world music festivaltelecom expomillets fair, climate change expo, wildlife conference, startup festival, Diwali rangoli, and jazz festival.

Founded by Krish Datta and Avik Bandyopadhyay, Singapore-based MayinArt is an online platform to showcase Indian and Southeast Asian art. The artworks are priced from a few hundred dollars up to around $3,000.

Images of some of these artworks are reprinted in this article with permission from MayinArt. See Part I, Part II and Part III of our photo-essay series, with pictorial highlights and artist insights.

The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt a severe blow to the performing arts and fine arts industries. “Pre-Covid, we would physically meet as a team at least once a month with Singapore as the epicentre. But Covid altered our plans,” Avik Bandyopadhyay explains, in a chat with YourStory.

“Although physical meets need to be restarted, virtual sessions do not impede productivity or passion,” he adds. All team members are available on instant messaging, and they are always in touch.

“One of the learnings from Covid was that for the first time, we realised that we all need to be sympathetic towards each of the team members,” Avik explains.

“Everyone had a hundred other personal issues in addition to Covid fears, but we all needed to be supportive of each other and be there for the larger, extended family. I would say we have come closer today – more closely knit together as a team,” he proudly affirms.

Centering and liquefying by Fery Eka Chandra

Fery Eka Chandra

“Art is the same as living life, and in life we need a faith. Without that, the artistic process cannot develop properly and bring the results we expect,” explains Indonesian artist Fery Eka Chandra.

He is well-known for his artworks with geometric abstractions. He believes such mesmerising patterns allow viewers to experience a spiritual journey for finding peace and beauty within, amidst the chaotic and turbulent world around us.

“To me, success as an artist ideally encompasses multiple aspects, since they are all interrelated,” he explains. Awards instill self-confidence and encouragement, while sales provide sustainability.

“Finding my own style took a long process and reflection,” Fery recalls. Once a certain style is accepted by the market, styles and techniques will evolve as they flow, he adds.

Strong series #3 by Fery Eka Chandra

“The pandemic has given us artists more time at home to reflect and explore ideas and techniques. Artists have also responded to the crisis and given meaning to it through their artworks,” Fery observes.

He offers tips for aspiring artists as well. “The most important thing to succeed is determination and a strong will, in addition to enthusiasm. It gives preparation to face the ups and downs of a career in art, and to make sacrifices to reach one's goals,” he affirms.

Humera Ali

Bengaluru-based artist Humera Ali has also participated in MayinArt’s recent Singapore exhibition, Discover the Undiscovered. Her abstract and impressionist artworks depict the environmental damage caused by reckless urbanisation. See our earlier coverage of her works at Chitra Santhe (2019) and Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath (2018).

“The pandemic times have certainly changed the way you see things. I'm keeping myself engaged with a lot of fitness workouts to keep myself healthy, doing a lot of sketching on a daily basis, experimenting with watercolour paintings, and challenging myself by working on huge canvases,” she explains.

She says this keeps her busy and positive, away from the negativity in the media. “I also read books that keep me enlightened. I have grown much more mature in my work, and I don't pay much heed to what's right and wrong. I just paint my heart out,” Humera adds.

She also describes the pluses and minuses of online exhibitions. “This is a completely new experience for me to showcase my works virtually and to be part of shows around the world. It's nice that the world can connect to my art in just a click away,” she enthuses.

“But at the same time, an online viewing doesn't give the feel of watching art directly to feel the textures of the work, unless and until the buyer is a regular collector of that particular artist,” Humera observes.

“But you can never say anything yet as all this is experimental until we get to normalcy or the new norm,” she adds.

Over the past couple of years, she has had her second solo show as well as a group show in Singapore. “After that started the trend of virtual shows, including a show on Women’s Day,” Humera recalls.

LILAC Ripples by Humera Ali

She calls for more support for artists during these tough times. “The artist community needs good exposure and strong encouragement from galleries to support, nurture and guide fresh talent,” she urges. Government and corporate grants help as well to support creativity.

“I strongly believe if there's a will there's a way, so my advice to upcoming artists is nothing comes easy. Short cuts do not stay for a long time,” Humera adds.

“So keep working hard. Believe in yourself first, don't bother about people's negative comments that will demean your work. It's your vision which only you can show,” she says.

“Keep the consistency going, because the earth needs more thinkers and positive colours spreading around,” Humera advises.

Husin

“Art is the expression of feelings from artists based on past experiences. Success comes from wide appreciation of the artworks, and knowing that the message has been conveyed and received well,” explains Indonesian artist Husin.

There is shrimp on the stone by Husin

A graduate of the Indonesian Institute of Arts in Yogyakarta, he has established a distinct surrealistic style. His works have a strong environmental motif, with socially relevant messages on sustainability and natural life.

“My realism approach with realistic techniques has evolved over time as I produce more and more works,” Husin says.

“The pandemic has led exhibitions and art events to be postponed and canceled. But I continued to work during the pandemic,” he adds.

He also offers tips for aspiring artists. “Continue to make artworks, continue to practice. Equip yourselves with reference works from various media for learning and development in the creative process,” Husin signs off.

Now, what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule and find new avenues to explore your creative core?

my canvas is blooming by Husin

Back-To-The-Nature-V by Supriya Polley

Culmination by Fery Eka Chandra

diary no 3 by Suryadi Suyamtina

fitfully #2 by Triana P

Global warming by Husin

Happy land by Dadang Imawan

Master of Mind Buddha by Sujata Sah Sejekan

Overlapping growth #1 by Suryadi Suyamtina

polution#1 by Husin

THE GIFT by Reza Pratisca Hasibuan

vintage-2 by Shrea Ghosh

Waves by Rashmi Soni

ZZ Stairway to nature by Nugroho Heri Cahyono

See also the YourStory pocketbook ‘Proverbs and Quotes for Entrepreneurs: A World of Inspiration for Startups,’ accessible as apps for Apple and Android devices.

Edited by Anju Narayanan

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