The Indian illustration space has been booming for years now in the country and is finally getting the momentum it deserves. Rhea enthusiastically remembers how Cards For A Cause initially came together, “I was discussing how I loved the illustration space here in India and that’s when Nidhi had the brilliant idea of approaching artists and creating a deck and see how it goes. Even though she was initially sceptical, I was like, ‘let’s absolutely do it’. ” On how the idea of a card game came together, Nidhi says, “I love games. I have always loved playing board games, especially, with my niece and that’s how the idea of the ‘game’ came in. We later narrowed it down to something universal like a deck of cards.”
Nidhi also talks about her personal journey of ideation and how she came up with Cards For A Cause as an actionable concept, “This happened back at the end of May when COVID-19 news was at its peak. I saw these terrible videos that made it seem as if everything was going downhill, mentally too. Instead, scrolling through Instagram and seeing beautiful illustrations made me feel calm and comfortable. That’s when it struck me that I could use this particular influence to monetarily help someone during the crisis.”
Olafur Eliasson in his article ‘Why Art Has The Power To Change The World’ writes, “Art does not show people what to do, yet engaging with a good work of art can connect you to your senses, body, and mind. It can make the world felt. And this felt feeling may spur thinking, engagement, and even action.” Eliasson elucidates the power art holds when it comes to connecting all of us and more broadly, changing the world for the better. Cards For A Cause elicits an incredibly similar motive — to utilise the intricacies of aesthetic vulnerability crafted by illustrators and artists across India and help alleviate pain elsewhere.
Moreover, Nidhi and Rhea talk about how Ahmedabad as a cultural centre has nurtured their creativity as younger art enthusiasts. Rhea says, “I spent all my time at the art centre in Ahmedabad. I come from a family that is extremely enthusiastic about art and is culturally driven. A constant part of my childhood and upbringing was this visceral exposure to different variations of art.” Both Nidhi and Rhea share their experiences of going to the same art centre in Ahmedabad and cultivating a passion for artistry. Rhea says, “Ahmedabad also has this sense of a close-knit community, it’s a small world and friends and family become really close. This moulds your mind in a certain positive secure way.” Rhea re-iterates the importance of family and friendship when it comes to seeking prosperity in other aspects of life. Whether it is our creative pursuits or other jobs, our longing for community is mirrored through the work we create. It shapes us as we go.
On her influences, Nidhi cites the book, Known and Strange Things (2016) by the critically acclaimed Nigerian-American writer Teju Cole as a life-defining source of inspiration. Nidhi talks further about her influences, “I did my undergraduate in English Literature from St. Xaviers college and books really provide a source of comfort and peace for me. Writers, authors, and creators helped me build a sense of empathy. That’s also how I started Artlet Poetry – by writing my own poetry but also curating poetry.” Rhea, on her influences, says, “I love visual symmetry and as a digital marketing student, I have always loved the many ways in which you can reimagine a product.”
The pandemic has impacted production and businesses world-over. As the owner of a brand that emerged during the pandemic, Rhea explains, “From a production point of view, most of our printing is done by a sister printing body. Yes, it was also a bit scary because there were hygiene priorities we had to think and take care of and everything had to be thoroughly sanitised. But, otherwise, there were no delays and we managed to get everything done within time.”
Imagining a future of Cards For A Cause, Rhea says, “I’m hoping life inspires us to constantly come up with new things. We also hope to reach more communities and create crazier, wilder, and fun products to eventually help aid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis in our country.” The power of art to move and initiate change has never been more palpable than the age we live in now.
You can buy a deck from Cards For A Cause here.