During her extended break from Bollywood, Sushmita Sen seems to have made her charity organisation, I Am Foundation, her pet project. Her newest endeavour is an art show that will see 35 leading Indian artists display and sell their works, as part of a fundraiser.
Titled A Brush with the Divine, the collection will bring under one roof, the works of SH Raza, Milburn Cherian, Rini Dhumal, Paresh Maity and Jayashri Burman among others. Most artists have pledged 50 per cent of their proceeds to the foundation, with the exception of Maity, who will contribute the entire sum.
About the theme, Sushmita explains, “We gave all the artists the same concept, yet their works were so different from each other’s. The beauty lies in the fact that even if you are an atheist, it means you believe in no God. The magic is that you believe in something, and that by itself is a brush with the divine.”The show, sponsored by Govind Kakadia of Kiah, was initially meant to start with 10-15 artists, but the response was so overwhelming that now there will be two exhibits instead of one. "We couldn’t fathom the large-heartedness these artists have. By the time we spoke to the sixth or seventh one, they had started discussing it within their community. Many of them came forward on their own. Even 35 are more than what we could accommodate, so some who haven’t been able to participate this time, will do so in our next exhibit," Sushmita enthuses.
A Brush with the Divine is Sushmita’s second charity event, and has met with resounding success judging by the response. “We’ve been invited to Australia and Dubai to conduct similar formats of fundraising,” she says adding, “We will get into the auction space and use every creative avenue there is to not just raise money, but also create awareness among people.”
With her focus entirely on the foundation and its activities, Sushmita doesn’t deny that her film career has been put on the backburner for the time being. “At different times, different things take precedence. Right now, my calling is to be of service (to whom?). I will go where it takes me - whether it means doing a film, working with I Am or simply being a good mother to my daughters,” she signs off.