Art for a cause: How Child Rights and You (CRY) combines creativity and social impact

CRY has impacted over three million children in India over 40 years. This art fundraiser is an outstanding example of its creative initiatives.
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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 550 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.

CRY (Child Rights and You) has partnered with the online gallery TheCurators.Art for an art fundraiser called ‘Happy Childhoods.’ The artworks can be viewed online till October 14 and were also displayed at Mumbai’s Tao Art Gallery.

CRY has been working towards providing happier and healthier childhoods for the last 42 years. Founded in 1979, its activities have impacted over three million children in India.

Patrons of the art fundraiser include Nyrika Holkar (Executive Director, Godrej & Boyce) and Preeti Bhutani (author of several French textbooks). With permission from the organisers, images of some of the artworks are republished in this two-part photo essay. See our earlier coverage of Tao Art Gallery exhibitions and curator interviews here.

With children as the theme, the artworks by 45 renowned artists represent a wide range of styles: figurative, abstract, mixed media, and sculptures. Some of the artworks are priced from Rs 25,000 to Rs 4.5 lakh.

ARTIST - CH GANDHI

Art and impact

“In 1988, CRY held its first exhibition of art for a cause. It was a massive affair with 122 artists, contributing 171 works of art, and the exhibition travelled to the four metros of India,” recalls Ratan Batliboi, Chairman, Board of Trustees, CRY.

“Since the 1980s, CRY has been associated with the Indian art world,” explains Kreeanne Rabadi, Regional Director (West) at CRY. Its earlier art fundraiser was in 2017.

“We’ve had a great response from art collectors and patrons of the charity, not only in India but also internationally,” says Sapna Kar, Co-founder of TheCurators.Art. She also helmed the first edition of the India Art Fair (previously called India Art Summit) – see our coverage of the 2020 edition here.

“Artists who have supported us enjoy creating for a cause, even if sometimes the brief or theme is outside their style or comfort zone,” she acknowledges, in a chat with YourStory.

"It is incredible to be able to contribute while doing something you love. I would encourage all artists to make time to participate in these art initiatives to the extent they can,” Sapna urges.

ARTIST - SANJAY SONI

The experience of a cause

Featured artists include Mumbai-based Gunjan Shrivastava, who holds a PhD in visual arts and a diploma in textile design. She is also co-founder of You Lead India Foundation. The CRY fundraiser features one of her paintings, A Million Stitches.

“Supporting social growth is my endeavour as an artist. As artists, we have an innate power to translate, transform, and influence the entire process,” she explains. She has also worked on art projects with V Care Foundation and Akanksha Foundation.

Gunjan calls for a greater appreciation for art in society. “The niche status attached to the field of art and artists needs to be reconsidered. Art is the purest form of human expression and every individual artist deserves their own space as every artist plays an important role and contributes to society,” she emphasises.

Art as a subject in schools needs to be given more prominence and encouragement. “The preconceived notion of parents that art is only a support curriculum and cannot be a mainstream career needs reconsideration,” Gunjan adds.

Gunjan Shrivastava

Understanding and nurturing a child’s artistic talent can lead to an extraordinary and fulfilling career. “Artists overall can have better support to be accepted and rewarded for their talent that holds the power to transform the world,” she suggests.

“Creating art for a cause is a personal experience. One has to feel for the cause and listen to the inner voices for inspiration to curate something that translates the cause for a larger purpose,” Gunjan affirms. She explains that this is a natural process and there are no written rules.

“However, if your artwork can be a thought-provoking piece of work, it stands the power to influence the larger audience, which in turn supports the cause,” Gunjan signs off.

Now, what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule and find ways to harness your creative core?

ARTIST - AFZA TAMKANAT

ARTIST - ANAND PANCHAL

ARTIST - BANDANA KUMARI

ARTIST - DEEPALI SARDE

ARTIST - GUNJAN SHRIVASTAVA

ARTIST - LAKHAN SINGH JAT

ARTIST - MANOHAR RATHOD

ARTIST - NISHANT DANGE

ARTIST - OM SWAMI

ARTIST - PINTU SIKDER

ARTIST - RUCHI BAKSHI

ARTIST - SACHINDRANATH JHA

ARTIST - SAPTARISHI NASKAR

ARTIST - SHIV KUMAR SONI

ARTIST - SHIV KUMAR SONI (2)

ARTIST - SWATI PASARI

ARTIST - VINITA DASGUPTA

ARTIST - VRINDAVAN SOLANKI

ARTIST - S SIVABALAN

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 Suman Singh

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