Some good news amidst the ongoing global health crisis is that the pandemic hasn’t dampened the spirit of artists, who continue to create and inspire through the lockdown. Though many cultural institutions around the world have been shuttered, designers, storytellers, and entrepreneurs and creators from all professions seem to have been united by the common malady facing mankind. From fashion collaborations to crowdsourced art projects, here are the noteworthy creative initiatives that have emerged in the wake of the coronavirus.
Mixx Pride Drop Shop
“We don’t believe in collections, seasons or trends. We believe in ideas that must be spoken of,” says Ruchika Parab, co-founder of Mixx. The platform’s latest Pride Drop features a collection of made in India, cruelty-free, ethically-produced and sustainable pieces by ally brands and entrepreneurs that support the queer community. In the curation dedicated to Pride, you’ll find handmade face masks by Bloni, signature colour-blocked T-shirts by Bhaane and slogan tees by Mixx, and an array of fashion accessories, ceramic platters, artisanal soaps, home accents, beauty products and baked goods. 15 per cent of the proceeds from the sales will go towards the @aravanartproject, a creative collective that works towards empowering the transgender community.
NorBlack NorWhite has launched a versatile collection of upcycled masks crafted from their favourite textiles. Crafted from cotton, the reusable masks are just ideal for the current needs. Also, 20 per cent of the sales made from each purchase goes to the community supported by Dharavi Art Room. That’s not all, for every mask purchased they will be donating a mask to Goonj, a non-profit organisation headquartered in Delhi.
The Corona Quilt Project
The founder of Pause is making the most of these difficult times and is working on The Corona Quilt Project, a global community initiative asking people all over the world to creatively express their experience during the pandemic. “Our goal is to gather squares/stories from people all over the world. We will stitch these together to create a quilt installation that will be a fitting testament to this unique time of change, survival and perseverance,” says Neha Suri, the founder.
The Red Curtain Project by Thresh
Bharatnatyam dancer and award-winning choreographer Preeti Vasudevan’s initiative uses storytelling to bring people together. The tales, spanning across cultures, are reinterpreted by global artists in their own medium. The first of the series was based on the Jataka Tales, including popular fables such as The Clever Antelope and The Hare in the Moon. The project has various interactive elements to it, such as the behind-the-scenes videos that give viewers a glimpse into the artists’ creative process, or The Red Curtain Challenge which prompts the audience to submit drawings based on the stories.
Write to Recognize
Inspired by The Crisis Project UK, the nonprofit initiative Write to Recognize describes itself as “A movement in gratitude.” Built with the intention of showing respect and appreciation for the frontline workers of the nation, the campaign encourages individuals to write letters to key workers after the organisation shares their story with volunteers. “It is a simple process but the aim is to create a chain of positivity and gratitude,” the organisation quotes.
Lockdown Longings by Roli Books
As the lockdown overtook the country, the publishing house Roli Books announced a short story contest inviting writers to submit narratives emerging from their days of self-isolation. The winning stories were then published as an e-book titled Lockdown Longings: 10 Stories of Love and Recollections. “The ten stories in this collection are a result of things they discovered within–comfort in old memories, new perspectives for old relationships, a sense of humour in the face of crushing uncertainty, courage to make peace with oneself and an unwavering faith in humanity,” the publisher states.
“The ‘Heroes of Mumbai’ by St+art and Asian Paints
Non profit art organisation St+art that aims to create art in public spaces collaborated with Asian Paints to celebrate the frontline heroes of the country. Gujarat-based street artist Do and maestro Munir Bukhari were brought in to paint murals of essential workers on the facade of one of the busiest locations of Maximum City—the Mahim railway station. “Aside from serving as a reminder of their contribution in the fight against this pandemic, the murals also aim to brighten up public spaces like Mahim junction with art and social commentary,” says Amit Syngle, MD and CEO at Asian Paints.
The Sapper by Bharat Sikka
Bharat Sikka’s The Sapper is a photograph series elucidating the artist’s relationship with his father. Contemporary art gallery Nature Morte is now presenting Sikka’s work in a viewing room on its site, featuring select photographs from the sequence. “Sapper gradually evolved into a way to understand and relate to my father, and into a collaboration where we enacted our relationship and he could show me—with full cognisance and agency—who he is,” says Sikka.