Over a hundred million individuals in rural and urban areas across the country, earn their primary or secondary income from the art they practice, perfect, and perform. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 crisis has decimated the arts sector and left most artistes and artisans bereft of any income and with further uncertainty of what lies ahead, they are struggling to feed themselves and their families in the absence of their traditional livelihood amidst the lockdown and its socio-economic impact.
In April this year, Teamwork Fine Arts Society – a not-for-profit the organization launched #ArtMatters – an initiative that is working towards creating awareness about the new reality faced by various artistes across India and developing support channels for them. Given the large-scale need for financial and policy support in the cultural sector, today #ArtMatters announced a fundraising gala, ‘I Believe #ArtMatters’. The virtual extravaganza will feature over 450+ artists and performers, including some of the most celebrated contemporary and classical musicians, dancers, comedians, visual artists, and theatre practitioners.
The aim is to provide much-needed support to artists and artisans across the country and celebrate their craft by highlighting their stories. The fundraising gala will be broadcast on 4th October 2020 on Teamwork Arts’ Facebook Page and on BookMyShow.
Sharing his thoughts on the initiative, Sanjoy K. Roy, Managing Director at Teamwork Arts said,“Artists and artisans across India have been impacted directly by COVID 19 which has led to a loss of work and income. #ArtMatters grew out of a need to focus attention on the plight of this vast sector which spans the Ragis in the Gurdawaras and the Bauls of Bengal to the Kathak and Bharatnatyam dancers, to those who weave magnificent temple and Banarasi Saris, to the toymakers and theatre actors, stage designers, stagehands and more. I Believe #ArtMatters creates a platform for the arts to resonate and enrich our lives and raise much-needed resources to support the artists, artisans, and their families.”
I Believe #ArtMatters will showcase a magnificent range of performances and will feature icons of Indian classical artistes including – Shubhendra Rao & Saskia Rao-de-Haas on the Sitar and Cello; Mridangam and Konnakkol artiste,B. C. Manjunath, and Hindustani classical vocalist Vidya Shah to name a few. The gala will include legendary Grammy Award–winningpercussionist Pt. VikkuVinayakram, and violin virtuosoDr. L. Subramaniam, with the hugely acclaimed playback singer, Kavita Krishnamurthi.
Our luminaries from the musical stage also include celebrated music composers A. R. Rahman, Salim-Sulaiman, Shekhar Ravjiani, Amit Trivedi, Shantanu Moitra, and Praveen D Rao. The effervescent Kailash Kher; power-house vocalist, GurdaasMaan; forever vibrant Usha Uthup; widely popular Raghu Dixit Project; pioneers of Indian fusion in India, Indian Ocean; Sufi& Punjabi vocalist Harshdeep Kaur; playback singer Shilpa Rao; Kabirpanthi band, Neeraj Arya’s Kabir Cafe; India’s leading fusion act, Advaita; the internationally acclaimed Shillong Chamber Choir, andthe Bengali – British sarod prodigy, Soumik Datta are all part of the exciting line-up.
Bringing in the essence of Indian folk music, the virtual gala will feature accomplished folk singers like Shabnam Virmani, Bipul Chettri, Chugge Khan, Kutle Khan, Bhai Baldeep Singh, Aabha Hanjura, Harpreet, and many more. The evening will also be adorned by a collaborative performance by ace percussionists, Sivamaniand V. Selvaganesh.
Celebrating India’s rich and diverse cultural landscape, I Believe will also witness dance performances by renowned Indian classical dancers namely, Aditi Mangaldas, Malavika Sarukkai, Manjari Chaturvedi, and Rukmini Vijaykumar. There will be a special performance by India’s first modern Gurukul for Indian classical dance,Nrityagram. Ashley Lobo’s The Danceworx Performing Arts Academyand the Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts will also grace the virtual stage.
The 5+ hour longstar-studded evening will be hosted by two of the finest Indian actors Shabana Aazmi and Manoj Bajpayee. Popular stand-up comedians such as, Papa CJ, Radhika Vaz, and Abish Matthew, will bring some comedic relief to the viewers. Enchanting us with their words, Javed Akhtar and Varun Grover will present two very special spoken- word pieces.
An initiative by the Teamwork Fine Arts Society- a not-for-profit organization that is committed to the cause of promoting and preserving art, literature, and craft- #ArtMatters is a platform that is working towards creating awareness about the current reality of various artistes across India and developing support channels for them. Since its inception in April, over 100 artistes have participated in the #ArtMatters campaign through video appeals and testimonials. It has also partnered with UNESCO (The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry) and ICCR (Indian Council for Cultural Relations). #ArtMatters has partnered with organisations across the country such as Rajasthan Josh SidharVikasSansthan, which is raising resources for families of folk musicians in a village in Jaisalmer, the Brahmaputra Cultural Foundation, which is helping artistes and their families in Assam, and the Vimor Handloom Foundation, which is working with weavers across the country. The Mumbai- based NGO Vision Rescue’s Artists for Artists is an initiative that is run by artists, for artists across the city, Artists for Artists is currently working with over 1800 artists in Mumbai.
#ArtMatters has also joined hands with various industry leaders including Raw Mango and Aditi Mangaldas for a series of short films by Aditi Mangaldas titled, ‘Within…from Within’, as well as Ojas Arts, for an innovative virtual exhibition of over 100 indigenous works of art.