Art meets charity in a deck of pandemic-themed playing cards
Two friends from Ahmedabad got 55 Indian artists to create a limited-edition deck for charity. The proceeds go to an NGO arranging food aid for those impacted by the epidemic and its fallout.Updated: Sep 27, 2020, 10:59 IST
Capture the pandemic in one image. What does it look like? That’s what Nidhi Shah and Rhea Patel from Ahmedabad decided to ask a bunch of young artists, when creating their limited-edition pandemic-era deck of cards.
The proceeds, they decided, would go to charity. Both women had been haunted by the images of migrants walking home, carrying babies, trailing pregnant women. Their cards, they decided, would encapsulate a unique period in time, raise awareness and funds for the less fortunate, and promote young art talent, using creativity for good.
Shah, 22, is a micro-influencer focused on wellness, poetry and art; her page, @theartletpoetry on Instagram, has 38k followers. Patel, 24, runs a digital agency called Cliq.
For the project, they decided to shortlist 100 young Indian artists whose work they found creative and relatable. A total of 55 artists eventually contributed, all of them working for free. These included a few established professionals too, such as Mehek Malhotra of the brand design company Giggling Monkey Studio, Jayesh Sachdev of the design studio Quirkbox, and artist and illustrator Radhika Sivsankar (@radhika_sivsankar).
Shah and Patel called their initiative Cards for a Cause. “We picked the theme, but left the interpretation up to each artist. Some chose to depict anger or frustration, for some it was isolation as peace,” Patel says.
What mattered to the women was that each take be unique.
Priyadarshini Kacker (@p.kacker) from Noida drew a woman pleasuring herself and titled it Atmanirbharta. Norzin Norbu (@noriiart) from Bengaluru created a striking image of a girl sitting at home, dreamy Northern Lights outside her window. Shreya Tingal (@Studiotoxic) from Noida portrayed her family as the Powerpuff Girls.
“Whenever this ends and we get back to our ‘normal’ lives, I am going to remember that the quarantine brought me closer to my family. We’ve been a powerhouse of 3! Dad is def the level-headed Blossom, Mom being a feisty Buttercup and I am obviously the mess that is Bubbles,” Tingle posted on Instagram, when sharing her card.
It took six weeks to coordinate and get all the artwork in and finalised. “Designing the pack and its packaging took even longer. We wanted it to look really good. A lot of logistics was involved. We wanted the shipping and payment to be seamless. We had to build a website for that,” Patel says.
Cards for a Cause was launched in the first week of August and over 600 decks have been sold so far, Shah and Patel say. Each deck costs Rs 700, with the money going to the non-profit organisation Give India. “We can fund 10 meals for that sum,” says Priyanka Prakash, head of marketing and partnerships with the non-profit. “The cards website also directs buyers to our Covid response fund page, and we’ve been getting additional donations that way too.”
Vaishnavi Choraria, 29, a lawyer from Mumbai, came across the cards on Instagram and ordered her pack in August. “The cause is something that strongly resonated with me,” she says. “As a family, we play cards every night. I loved the design, detailing and aesthetic of this pack. Some of the art is so witty. I think it’s an ingenious way to drive awareness and do some good work.”