At a time when a global pandemic is raging through India, claiming thousands of lives, there is a dire need for help and collective care. Everyone is trying to do as much as they can during this difficult time, people from various backgrounds are coming together to raise as many funds as possible. One such collective is that of 25 female artists who put their digital artwork for sale to support the on-ground relief work to fight the covid crises in India.
Mutual Aid India collated a well researched list of campaigns mostly focussing on the distress of the marginalised, and under-resourced spaces. The artwork was curated by Devangana Dash. The collective has managed to raise INR 11,00,000 in 5 days with the support of contributors of you who donated generous amounts.
We spoke to Devangana Dash, the curator who put together this fundraiser to understand the idea behind the fundraiser, as well as the response they received.
Why did you did you come up with the idea of an art fundraiser?
A time of crises like this demands action.
Like everyone else, my heart too hasn’t been at rest looking at the news every day and seeing my close friends and family go through loss and pain. I was reading about insufficient resources and aid everyday and there was a sense of urgency to it. There were limited ways in which I could do something sitting safely at home and I don’t know anything else other than art than can bring people together. I tried one idea but concluded very soon I can’t create a strong impact alone, and this needed community effort.
What was your next step when you realised that you may need help?
Next step was to put my art direction skills to good use and reaching out to a bunch of inspiring artists whose work I admire. Most of them I had collaborated with earlier, and others I had been longing to. We were all creative professionals, freelance illustrators, animators and had versatile art styles. Each of them was kind, equally passionate about the cause, readily agreed to collaborate and within 24 hours I had a list ready for the ‘Art Fundraiser for Covid Relief’! Everyone came forward with one beautiful artwork to donate to this cause. The idea was to encourage people to donate more, highlight the urgency, and direct the funds to spaces that really need it. This is why our collective effort was rooting for Mutual Aid India’s work as their efforts were supporting vulnerable people and those at the grassroots—groups and areas that often get overshadowed or forgotten.
It was rather heartening to see so many from the Indian creative community engaging in workshops, fundraisers, and more, to do their bit
What was the response like?
Brilliant and overwhelming. People globally were rooting for this, and so many people felt connected to what we were doing. We kept increasing our fundraiser goal every day. In a short span of 5 days, what we collected was gratifying, even though it is a small drop in the ocean. Keeping in mind that so many people are off social media in this difficult time, struggling to engage, or are caretaking constantly for patients at home, this kind of response was unexpected. The energy of all the artists was so inspiring and there was a lot of respect for each other’s work.
What is the one take away from the help that you have received to raise INR 11,00,000?
The kindness of strangers reaches us in the most unexpected ways, and will ultimately save us. We all are witnessing that every day with strangers looking out for each other arranging hospital beds, oxygen, medicines, food.
Any effort you put out there in public will take a lot of doubt, conflict and resilience in reaching out but there will be some people who resonate and feel aligned with what you are doing. The power of art and community is real and brings us hope. Whatever little financial aid we could direct towards the on-ground relief work in India was possible only because of every single person who donated, and all 25 contributing artists who were part of this collective effort.
Check out the artists that were part of this fundraiser:
Aaryama Somayaji, Annada N. Menon, Annushka Hardikar, Apoorva Lalit, Aanya Vinaya, Devangana Dash, Kashimra Sarode, Kaveri Gopalakrishnan, Lavanya Naidu, Meghna Menon, Mira Malhotra, Mounica Tata, Mrinali Kamath, Namrata Kumar, Pearl D’souza, Priya Kuriyan, Priyanka Pachpande, Rashmi Tyagi, Richa Kashlekar, Rutuja Thakurdesai, Simran Monga, Sneha Dasgupta, Shriya Singh, Sudeepti Tucker, Tara Anand, Varshini Ramakrishnan.
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