Boosting the morale of the people amid the unprecedented COVID-19 lockdown is a challenge the central and state officials in India have been determinedly trying to meet.
Art has been used to promote awareness of COVID-19 and spread the knowledge on the fight against the novel coronavirus at the ground level, for instance through Phad art.
Leading the initiative through arts is the Indian Council For Cultural Relations (ICCR) which has roped in art teachers and practitioners from around the world to conduct real-time classes over Skype and other such web-conferencing platforms.
It offers a range of classes on classical dance (Kathak, Bharatnatyam, etc), music, painting, and even yoga from its 37 cultural centres across Europe, US, China, Bangladesh, Mauritius, Guyana, South Africa, the Netherlands, Russia, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan, among others.
ICCR’s initiatives aim to unite citizens across the world, affected by the spread of Covid-19, through art including the launch of an online art competition.
"United against CORONA- Express through Art" is a unique art competition by ICCR that encourages submissions of artistic expressions to present their emotions, feelings, ideas and innovative thoughts on the COVID-19, social distancing, quarantine and the fight against the virus through art.
- It is open to all amateur and professional artists from India and the world over in all age categories.
- Artworks can be on Canvas/Paper, through mediums such as oil, water colours, pencil, crayons; Digital Art Graphic Posters & Paintings.
- It can be categorized into Contemporary Art; Folk & Tribal Art; Cartoons & Illustrations; Digital & New Age Art.
- Entries are sought from Professional Artists; Amateur Artists; Children & Students – Below age of 21.
- Participants are required to send high resolution photos (upto a maximum 10MB) of their work to ICCR by 1st May 2020.
- A high level jury consisting of eminent artists and cultural persons will select the best works. Attractive prizes shall be given to winning entries.
- Best of the expressions will be exhibited in leading galleries in India and abroad. A permanent online exhibition will also be on display.
- Participation details and guidelines are available on its website and queries can be emailed to ICCR.
The ICCR shared that social distancing, self-isolation, quarantine have separated people physically but in a unique way this has brought people even closer with a great appreciation of humanity’s common fate. "In this time, virtual space can serve as an analogue to the physical space providing a platform for the intermingling of ideas and Art. That is why ICCR is holding this competition in cyber space, a place where we can be together while being apart."
The contest is really going global with responses from many countries in the world ICCR shared in a tweet.
ICCR believes that Art gives us hope, purpose and a desire to see beyond the problems of these difficult times and would like to capture this moment, record this period through the pure expression of Art.
ICCR is not only keeping Indian culture active and alive across the world, it is also contributing to the country wide effort to fight this virus by contributing one days salary to the relief fund.
Another online art competition in the times of corona is the “Indian Monuments Through Your Eyes” launched by the Embassy of India (ICN), in Berne, Switzerland.
“Embassy of India (ICN) invites entries for an online pencil drawing competition of Indian Monuments. Selected entries will be featured on Embassy social media. To participate send your drawings by email to firstname.lastname@example.org by Apr 20,” reads its tweet.