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Artists pitch in to offer stress-busters

While the entire world is practising physical distancing, social media is busy bringing people closer than ever. What better way to do so than art?

Remember the poster of the 1990s hit movie Hum Saath Saath Hain — where the couples were seen dancing next to each other, their hands outstretched? Artist Proloy from Kolkata has given this poster a twist, and shared it on his Instagram page Pinimal Posters. The poster, now shows they are dancing — but maintaining a careful distance. The caption reads: ‘Hum dur dur sath hain’.

Raising awareness while keeping things light, artists are utilising the most of social media platforms to make things a little easier amid this lockdown.

“Well, I have always believed art helps our soul to grow and let us keep our sanity. Just imagine being stuck in a room for these many days without books, music, movies and any other form of art. People would go insane, it would take a toll on our mental health,” says Proloy, who is also an independent visual designer focusing on branding.

While this lockdown is comfortable for him as he calls himself an “introvert”, he intends to make the best use of his art to make people aware.  “As an artist, I feel a little responsible towards it. I try to spread awareness about the situations through my minimalist style and add a dash of humour whenever I can,” he explains.

Like Proloy, several other artists are keeping aside their regular work and sharing this sense of responsibility by creating works based on the pandemic, yet at the same time ensuring on providing the much-needed humour.

As an artist, I feel responsible for creating something that is affecting the collective consciousness so profoundly. I try to bring humour to my art when approaching this subject, or awareness around the precautions people can take or opine about the harsh conditions of the daily wage workers and those ignored by the national lockdown,” says illustrator and graphic designer who goes by her account name, @smishdesigns.

Reimaging characters from history, she puts a mask on them. She also puts the spotlight on the plight of several migrant workers. One of her works titled, ‘You can’t stay at home if you can’t go home’, hits the spot. It shows a woman standing in the balcony while a man on the road below her struggles under the weight of a cutout of India strapped onto his back. 

“I think artists can really come forward and take the centre stage, making people more aware about the do’s and don’ts of living during the pandemic. They can also become an important tool for people to help express their emotions and channelise to become a vent for them during these testing times,” she adds.

Taking note of the do’s and don’ts, another one of her works captioned ‘The monopoly of the hand sanitiser’ drives home the point. It shows a man holding on to a sanitiser dispenser all to himself while other hands reach out for the same. 

Not just raising awareness, some of them are also trying to raise funds to support those in need. Prajwal Acharya from Bangalore is using his Instagram account @penciltripper for the cause.

A freelance artist, Acharya does wall art and murals for corporate entities, cafes and houses along with digital illustrations for companies. This lockdown has affected his livelihood. 

“I’m sure it’ll take months before artists can get their projects going again. But as an artist we can’t just sit idle at home. I do make artworks related to the situation, highlighting the homeless and daily wagers who are most affected. I also try to make some positive art to lighten everyone’s mood a bit,” says Acharya. 

In a bid to raise funds, he is creating commissioned artwork. You can send him a picture and he will create a digital portrait for you, or even an incident of your quarantine time, and he will create a comic illustration of it. For instance, one of his recent works features a series of illustrations that follows the humorous way a girl is trying to kill time during the lockdown.   

Several of his illustrations urge people to stay at home and suggest things people can do during the lockdown. “I started an art challenge called #21dayslockdownartchallenge and prepared a prompt list. Anyone can join in. Basically you have to draw every day following the list and post it with the hashtag.”

Acharya is also trying to provide tips to those who wish to improve their drawing skills. “Art is something which helps people express what they feel. Especially now when people might be frustrated about being stuck at home. Getting into any art and learning something new would definitely make them happy and engaged,” he adds.

There are several other accounts like his with fresh new content. Go explore, they are just a click away!