This Instagram initiative is selling art to help rural India avoid COVID. Here’s how you can- Edexlive

For those of us in the cities, the threat of COVID-19 and the veil of sadness it brought has gradually faded with the decline in cases in recent months. Add to that the decent vaccination rates in urban areas, and we’re almost ready to phase out our masks and disinfectants at this point.

The story in rural India reads a little differently though. The economic burden of the pandemic and the lockdowns has been borne by people at the lower rungs of the socio-economic ladder. Without a job and no savings to fall back on, COVID-19 has sounded bad luck for the daily wage worker, the farmer and others without job security. The second wave left people falling like rags in rural areas with no public health system in sight, and vaccination campaigns did not reach these shores with the enthusiasm with which they were splashed across our screens in towns.

A group of four organizations came together on Instagram, aware of this disparity in the situation in India after the second wave. Contagion of compassion is made up of artists who came together during the pandemic to make their art count for something bigger. They began to organize small fundraisers by selling their art on Instagram and donating the proceeds to those who needed help during the pandemic. Prava, a Delhi-based NGO, saw their efforts and put them in touch with their Changeloom initiative, which works with other NGOs in remote areas of India.

It snowballed by joining the Instagram-based art platform, Alipore Post, which brings together poets and artists to create visual arts and poetry. “When we launched it, we wanted to build communities without livelihoods. We thought we had to organize it properly. We were already working with artists, but we wanted poetry to be involved, and that’s how we came into contact with Alipore post, ”says Avarna Ojha from Pravah.

Atypical advantage, which provides qualified people with disabilities with a platform to generate income through opportunities, also quickly joined the group and together the quartet launched the Fundraising for Art Aid, which raises funds to support NGOs working to rehabilitate rural areas of India affected by COVID. Pooja Dhingra, artist and founder of Compassion Contagion, says they wanted to make an effort to conserve the artwork, and adds that people have made generous donations.

With a target of Rs 40 lakh, they set out to promote their works of art on Instagram. Priced between 4,000 and 400 Rs, these works of art come in all forms, from zines to postcards, embroidered pieces and oil paintings on canvas. A portion of these profits also goes to artists. Vineet Saraiwala, founder of Atypical Advantage, says: “We have a musculoskeletal artist from Kerala who does upside down portraits. We also wanted to generate remuneration for these artists.

Although the returns are slow, the young team behind them are excited about this fusion of art and a grassroots movement to help India truly get back on its feet after the ravages of the pandemic. They plan to continue for a few more months.

To reach: Rebuilding post-Covid India through the arts

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About Bernice D. Brewer

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