Art

COVID-19: A safety campaign through art

Artist S Nagaraj   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Fifty-two artists have so far participated in an online stay-safe campaign led by artist S Nagaraj in Coimbatore. “Anyone can participate. They have to make a self-portrait wearing a mask and send it to us. Several artists from Coimbatore, and some from Puducherry, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Kerala, Delhi and one artist from Finland have taken part.”

Nagaraj studied art at the Lalit Kalakshetra Institute of Art and Culture in Coimbatore. He says he got the idea when he read about the Chennai Police making giant paintings on the roads to explain the importance of social distancing. Several artists in Madurai too used drawings and paintings to create awareness. “As we are stuck indoors, I thought of an online campaign and it has got everyone talking. People always pay attention when it is a drawing and, through the campaign, we thought we could do our bit to the COVID-19 awareness.”

Puducherry-based artist A. Krishnan has a portrait made from used paper. He usually uses discarded paper, binding gum, and bamboo sticks to make sculptures and highlights traditional arts and crafts like Karagaatam, Oyilattam, Mayilattam and Poikkalkuthirai. “I used the same technique and made my portrait wearing a mask and posted it. Everyone is under stress because of the COVID-19 lockdown. When we are involved in a creative activity like this, it keeps us engaged, and relieves stress,” says Krishnan,who teaches art at government schools.

A Vignesh from Coimbatore thinks it is an opportunity to showcase one’s talent online and convey a message. He made his portrait with a black ballpen. He says, “I feel proud to have contributed to this novel campaign.” Vignesh recently made a painting that traced the origin of Thirukkural.

R Prema, who is a student of art from Erode, has also uploaded her portrait she has made with colour pencils. “I highlighted the tricolour of the National Flag of India and conveyed the message that it’s a social responsibility. In any crisis situation, art is a great outlet to express your thoughts. When I posted my drawing, it inspired my family members and friends to do the same. And, portraying the face with a mask, is also a reminder to stay safe,” says Prema.

Self portrait of artist N Veera Kumar

Self portrait of artist N Veera Kumar   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Art is a tool to convey a social message, says N Veera Kumar, an art teacher in a private school in Coimbatore. “All my students, easily over 100 of them, have seen my Indian Ink portrait with a mask. I am sure they will remember to put a mask on when they step out. It is the first precaution to protect against the coronavirus.”

If you want to take part, make a self portrait and WhatsApp the painting to +918870497821

Printable version | Jan 18, 2021 4:49:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/art/covid-19-artists-make-self-portraits-with-masks-and-circulate-it-online-to-encourage-people-to-stay-safe/article31460844.ece

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