Art and pandemic resilience: how this exhibition helped Child Rights and You (CRY) raise funds for needy children

With a track record of impactful work for children for over 40 year, CRY has also worked with progressive artists to raise funds. Here are some inspiring highlights.
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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) partnered with online gallery TheCurators.Art for the recent art fundraiser called ‘Happy Childhoods.’ The artworks were also displayed at Mumbai’s Tao Art Gallery (see Part I of our photo essay here).

With children as the theme, the artworks by 45 renowned artists were priced from Rs 25,000 to Rs 4.5 lakh. With permission from the organisers, images of some of the artworks are republished in this two-part photo essay. See also our earlier coverage of Tao Art Gallery exhibitions and curator interviews here.

ARTIST - LAKHAN SINGH JAT

Art for impact

“Over the past 42 years, we have worked across 23 states, 157 districts, 3,396 remote villages and urban slums, trying to get to ‘the last child’ – the child that development has forgotten,” Ratan Batliboi, Chairman, Board of Trustees, CRY, writes in the exhibition booklet.

This includes children in geographically remote areas, children of tribal communities, children of commercial sex workers, children in conflict areas, and children from underserved and marginalised areas of India.

“The artworks bring joy to the collectors who take them home with an invaluable feeling of having made a difference. They also serve as a contribution to the beneficiaries of the NGO,” explains Sapna Kar, Co-Founder of TheCurators.Art, in a chat with YourStory.

ARTIST - SANJAY SONI

“When you take home a work of art from a charity fundraiser, you will treasure that memory of having made a difference every single time you see the painting or sculpture,” she adds.

“The fact that our platform via this fundraiser could impact lives of children from the most underserved communities in India, is extremely gratifying,” says Rajneeta Kewalramani, Co- Founder of TheCurators.Art.

“We hope that, like us, art lovers will be inspired by these beautiful works to not only surround themselves with beauty and meaning, but help create it in the lives of children from the remotest, most marginalised sections of society,” adds exhibition patron Kim Verma Modi.

ARTIST - AFZA TAMKANAT

Pandemic resilience

The pandemic has had a devastating impact on lives and livelihoods around the world, but has also spawned a series of creative and resilient responses to the crisis.

“We all have been hit by the pandemic, but kids have suffered the most. What is better than to be able to contribute for their wellbeing? I am a mother, and supporting this cause makes me happy,” explains Gunjan Shrivastava, an artist whose painting A Million Stitches is featured in the exhibition.

The pandemic was tough on the artistic community as well, which depends heavily on physical exhibitions and galleries. “The pandemic surely caught all of us off-guard. For me, personally I think it took some time to adjust to the new normal,” Gunjan recalls.

“What was interesting is to see nature reclaiming itself in every possible way. It gave inspiration and various ideas that influenced my work,” she adds. Her collection, The Natural Resurrection is a result of observations and learnings from the pandemic.

Gunjan Shrivastava

“The pandemic also made me a digitally savvy artist,” Gunjan proudly says. She launched her solo show, The Victory Chronicles: Tales of the Positive Triumphal Woman, on her website. “As an artist, I feel it is important to evolve with the changing times,” she explains.

Gunjan observes that a lot of rural talent has surfaced in the last two years due to visibility on social media platforms. “I have also seen an increase in online engagements and collaborations among artists from different parts of the world,” she adds.

“Artists responded to the crisis via narratives based on personal and collective conscience, though some artists translated their fear and others hope as their expression,” Gunjan says.

She is also a supporter of sustainability and responsibility in art. “Sustainability is something every artist must consider. Responsible art should not be an option anymore to be in sync with nature and our environment,” she affirms.

“We need to reconsider how we create art that respects our environment,” Gunjan signs off.

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

ARTIST - ANAND PANCHAL

ARTIST - ARUNANSHU CHOWDHURY

ARTIST - BANDANA KUMARI

ARTIST - CH GANDHI

ARTIST - DINKAR JADHAV

ARTIST - JAGANNATH PAUL

ARTIST - JENNY BHATT

ARTIST - PINTU SIKDER

ARTIST - REA BALOTIA

ARTIST - S SIVABALAN

ARTIST - SANTOSH JAIN

ARTIST - SEEMA KOHLI

ARTIST - SHIFFALI WADHWAN

ARTIST - SHIV KUMAR SONI

ARTIST - SWATI PASARI

ARTIST - VRINDAVAN SOLANKI

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Edited by Megha Reddy