Oct 22, 2011 (Calcutta Tube. IBNS): Kolkata-based Jagriti Arts Initiative ran one of the biggest art exhibitions under its CreARTivity Series (IV) in Bhubaneswar at the Lalit Kala Akademi . At least 54 art works of some of the most well-known Indian painters and sculptors were displayed. There was a strong underpinning of philanthropy to this whole effort. A report
Behind the canvas of Ganesh Haloi, Jogen Chowdhury and Bikash Bhattacharya, lay the Jagriti Art Foundation’s commitment towards the poor and the deprived. Rameshwar Broota, Prakash Karmakar, Robin Mandal, Samir Aich and Lalu Prosad Shaw rubbed shoulders with Suhas Roy, Partho Pratim Deb, Chaita Basu Jena, and Satyabhama Majhi, all for a good cause. This worked out a fine blend of different traditions, schools, and styles among artists coming from different generations of art yet bound together through an exhibition that has a larger social cause in mind.
The question that arises is – does art have lesser real value if it is not linked to a social cause? Not really because sometimes, in a country like India, art itself evolves into a social cause as many talented artists are silenced for want of funds.
Social commitment through art raises both the art and the commitment to higher scales of creative and social priorities. This was partly the focus of CreARTivity IV’s exhibition at Bhubaneswar. It is a very positive approach towards weaving out a tapestry of art merged into social concern.
CreARTivity IV drew relatively lesser known artists of the country within the circle of the better known and backed artists who need this support. At the same time, it extended the horizons of its cause by its avowed social commitment for the poor, the marginal and the deprived.
Each time Jagriti Arts Initiative holds an art exhibition of any scale, it ear-marks part of the proceeds of each show for some benevolent cause. For CreARTivity I, held in 2007, the organization handed over a donation to Principal of La Martiniere for Boys to create a scholarship for poor and meritorious students of the school. CreARTvity II, held in 2008, a donation was handed over to Rotary International (District Governor 329) for Polio. CreARTivity III held this September, donated part of the proceeds for the establishment of library for poor girls at “Piyali Learning Centre” (PLC) of West Bengal’s South 24 Paraganas district.
The PLC is an educational facility operating under the stewardship of PACE Universal, an US not for profit NGO and the Rotary Club of Calcutta Metropolitan Trust. It is a holistic programme designed to empower first generation girl children living in Piyali, one of the most impoverished villages in South Parganas. “First-generation girl children” means these girls are the first female children of their respective families to go to school.
For CreARTivity IV, just before the Honorary Governor lit the inaugural lamp to declare the exhibition open, Gaurang Jalan, founder-director of Jagriti Arts Initiative, handed over a cheque for Rs.51,000 to the Governor to be given to Adruta Children Home in Odisha.
Art is the product of a complex interplay of influences and sources of inspiration. Alongside, it is an exploration of different materials and techniques, space and surface, colour and line, visual representation and perception, which also points to an artistic inquiry transcending national borders, the question of identity plays an important role in contemporary Indian art.
Contemporary Indian art in general, and specifically this selection of works moves within a complex system of coordinates, formed by the reflection of international movements and Indian themes, and the treatment of a historical legacy and current ideas: a fertile ground from which powerful works spring.
This does not divorce art from a concern for the deprived, the marginalized and the orphan. Adruta Children Home, promoted by Renaissance Artists and Writers Association (RAWA) Academy was founded in 1992 to rehabilitate the unclaimed, deserted and parentless children in Odisha.
Children ranging from abandoned newborns enter the portals of the homes under umbrella organization and live there till they are at least 22 years old and are both emotionally as well as academically prepared to take on the responsibility of their own lives. The mission is to provide home and hope to the helpless children so that they can draw from the excellence that lies untapped within them and become a part of the mainstream.
A total of 324 children are housed in the various homes of Adruta in Bhubaneswar, Puri, Rayagada, Bolangir, Angul, Keonjhar and Sundargarh.
Besides providing the children with the basic needs of food, clothing, education and holistic growth, the native talents of the children are drawn out through proper orientation and training in art, music, dance and sports.
Art is a product of one of the highest forms of creativity in terms of imagination, aesthetics, rhythm, timing, self-expression and social comment. Jagriti Arts Initiative through its four CreARTivity Series has tried to bring out a happy marriage between the best artists in the country and humane endeavour to bring a smile to the lips of the underprivileged and the deprived.
The artists whose works were on display formed a fine and balanced blend of the internationally renowned to the nationally noted to the comparatively younger group followed by little known artists and painters who have the power to create, innovate and excel. Some of these are Chatrapati Dutta’s The Oath, Jayashree Chakraborty’s Insects, Gaurang Barik’s Raag Todi, Blessing by Tarakanta Parida and Kazi Nasir’s Invasion II.
In a country where basic needs elude nearly 400 million people, art with a social mission should not be an option.
– Shoma A. Chatterji / Trans World Features (TWF)