Art is a form of healing and recovery, and provides solace and therapy during times of stress, they say. But who will heal the distress of artists during an ongoing pandemic? As the COVID-19 pandemic robbing thousands of fine, performing, and folk artists of their livelihood, it is becoming difficult for them to even fulfill their basic needs.
During the summer months from March to July, thousands of rural folk artistes uphold our rich tradition by entertaining, educating, and also earning whatever they can for the rest of the year through temple festivals and related programs. With the lockdown and cancellation of all festivals, these artistes who are entirely dependent on the income they make during these few months, have lost their livelihood and their dignity. Many are in such states of distress that they struggle for the most basic necessities, including one proper meal a day.
With no work in hand amid lockdown and no help from the government either, several folk artists are being forced to wash the greasepaint off their faces and perform tillage as no other choices left in front of them.
“People who are financially doing well can handle such a crisis without working for two or three months. But people like us cannot take care of all our needs unless we go to work regularly. Right now, we are trying to make do with the bare minimum,”Says Pandiselvi
– Silambam and Paraiyaattam artist in Tamil Nadu.
To help the folk artists tackle this pandemic, Samarpana, an NGO based out of Tamilnadu is extending all possible help.
“Samarparna” which literally translates to “selfless offering”, with the help of the Ministry of Culture- GoI and South Central Cultural Zone is running a campaign called “100s for 1000s,” which is aimed at helping families of artists hit by the pandemic. Through the fundraiser, Samarpana is appealing to people to donate a minimum of ₹100 to support the families of thousands of folk artists. Many renewed artists are coming together to perform live and help raise money on their Facebook page.
Recently they appointed the great philanthropist Mr. Raghava Lawrence as their ambassador so that the message of 100for1000 will reach a wider audience. This will in turn help in galvanizing more funds, which will be used to ensure the sustenance of a gamut of folk artistes.
“The folk artists we are in touch with are literally pleading for help. We are thankful that we have salaries and roof. For them, the entire livelihood is just art.”Gayatri Suryanarayanan,
– Founder of “Samarpana” and a Bharatnatyam dancer
This noble cause needs your support. These artists helped you to ease your stress, they selflessly entertained you. They helped you cope up with your hard times, now it’s your turn to help them during theirs.
“The arts and society share a symbiotic relationship. Just as society needs art to add meaning to life, the arts need the support of society in difficult times.”
Folk artists are currently going through a difficult phase, let’s contribute to ease their pain. Contribute a minimum of Rs. 100 which will make sure a one time meal for the artist who is hungry. Your small contribution will help to feed an artist.