Art to create awareness about the pandemic – Deccan Herald

Posted: May 23, 2020 at 2:52 pm


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Blending old and new

Rahul V Mathew, a Bengaluru-based artist, has been making digital collages using the paintings of Raja Ravi Varma to send a message about the Covid-19 pandemic.

He juxtaposed the paintings with stock images for the series. He chose six paintings based on how the character would interact with the current environment. Each of them is posted on his Instagram page, and is accompanied by a note that expands on a different theme. Ahalya, for example, has been used by Mathew to drive a point against panic buying. The caption reads, You should prepare for the coronavirus but dont buy more than what you need. He also talks about the importance of taking care of ones mental health, social distancing and maintaining personal hygiene.

The Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology graduate was inspired by a project he had worked on previously Varma Printing Press in Mumbai, using the royal artists work. The idea came to Mathew when he visited Hasta Shilpa Heritage Village in Manipal.

It is not just the fact that Ravi Varmadepicted Indian deities that made Mathew choose his works, but also the fact that he made art accessible to the underprivileged sections. I wanted my art and the message I am trying to send across to be accessible to everyone, he says. However, using the artwork of someone who is already established, he says, comes with its own challenges.

Contemporary artist Rehaman Patel, who hails from Kalaburagi district, created a painting to urge people to stay home.

He was perturbedby the callousness with which many people were violating the lockdown.The only option left, he says, is to lock their feet; a sentiment he portrays in his artwork. Titled The Last Option, the painting shows a pair of slippers that have been locked. The sandals have been arranged in the shape of a V, symbolising victory.

Patel has always used his art as a medium to discuss current socio-cultural topics such as education, women empowerment and unity in diversity.

Srishti Guptaroy is a fashion designer, visual artist and illustrator based out of Bengaluru. The idea of my art has always been to spread joy, she says. Her style is maximal, colourful and intricate.The first Covid-19 related post she made on her Instagram was on March 7. It was just a fun poke on people wearing masks and how its thesocial requirement to be in public, she says.Making art on something that is so all encompassing seemed, to her, like the most natural thing to do. She was later commissioned by Myntra to make 30 illustrations surrounding lockdown, quarantine and Covid-19. I was a little overwhelmed initially. But as I started working on it, I realised that this global predicament we are in can actually create thousands of concepts and artworks, she explains.

Her art is not focused on creating awareness, her aim is to create relatable content that can be shared for a laugh. The light and often sarcastic illustrations depict Zoom interactions, the rise in Instagram Lives and even the comeback of Ludo. She says that art is what is really getting us through in a way. I know that it comes from a certain place ofprivilege, but once basic requirements are met, everyone has turned to some form of art for solace, she concludes.

Seen on every street corner, rangolis are probably the most visible form of everyday art we have. So its no surprise that they have been used to spread awareness.

The idea came from a consortium of 12 child rights organisations. They have been working with young girls who are victims of child marriage and those who might be part of the Devadasi system.

Rangolis seemed to be the best way to involve girls in a community awareness initiative, says Vasudeva Sharma, a child rights activist, who is part of the initiative.

More than 300 girls from places like Bengaluru, Belagavi, Chikkaballapura, Bidar participated in this initiative. The colourful work depicted the virus with slogans asking people to practice safety, showing the importance of handwashing and using sanitisers and promoting the use of masks.

It was not without roadblocks, their work was not paid attention to in the beginning with some families even refusing to allow them to draw in front of their houses. It was the age-old belief that what you draw outside will come inside, says Vasudeva with a laugh. But there were many who not just appreciated but helped the girls in designing and procuring colours. Thisawareness drive is led by two collaborative projects, Initiative for Married Adolescent Girls Empowerment and Getting Out of Devadasi System.

Aakansha Menon is an illustrator and designer who loves illustrating the world around her. She describes her work as minimal and raw. I want to convey a story with as few words as possible, she says.

The artist had never worked from home before the lockdown and the changes that came with it were extremely unusual for her. Art was her way to process it. Everyone else also seemed to be going through the same situation, so for people to relate to my work and find a sense of comfort kept me going, she says.

She has both message-oriented art that deals with the importance of handwashing and social distancing in addition to work that stems from her experiences such as video calls with her mother.

Our only source of contact with each other is through social media, so I find that it becomes more important to connect through it. Sharing positive messages through easily consumable and shareable mediums like art is reassuring to people who are going through a tough time. It tells them that theyre not alone, she explains.

Excerpt from:
Art to create awareness about the pandemic - Deccan Herald

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May 23rd, 2020 at 2:52 pm