Art and culture make a quick beeline to the digital
Seeing the pandemic as a hiccup in history, cultural groups have gone digital with great enthusiasm lest the chain be broken and the audience lostUpdated: Jun 01, 2020 20:49 IST
SHOW MUST GO ON Seeing the pandemic as a hiccup in history, cultural groups have gone digital with great enthusiasm lest the chain be broken and the audience lost
With lockdowns, social distancing and closure of cultural functions; art and culture academies, literature festival groups as well as individual artists have lost no time in seeking visibility in the visual world through dialogues, discussions and performances online.
While it was Namita Gokhale, co-director of the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF), who started with the Saturday series of international participants titled ‘The Brave New World’ after Aldous Huxley’s dystopian novel on the end of human spontaneity and freedom. However, cultural and literary groups in the region were quick to meet the challenge of lost space of the real world.
After two years of intense world involving two literary festivals a year for adults and one for children, Preeti Gill of Majha House was all set to hold the Basant Festival 2020 on March 21 and 22, put together with care and some of the best talent of the country participating. But it was not to be as Covid-19 had struck home. “It was love’s labour lost,” says Preeti, “and instead of all the effort coming to not, we decided to take what we could digitally and thus offering a series on culture to our eager audience!” Interestingly, in this period Majha House has made a special effort to build cultural ties across borders by starting the initiative ‘Sanjha Punjab’, a group to foster common cultural ties between the two Punjabs. After an initial dialogue with artists and writers from Pakistan, more digital meets on issues of interest are being organized, including the saga of ‘Heer’ by Waris Shah.
A number of initiatives are coming up in the tricity and an interesting three-part online exhibition by the Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi involving a large number of senior and young artists of the city and their lockdown art. Akademi chairperson Bheem Malhotra says, “Our Open Hand Sudios and galleries were deserted and the tempo of the activity that we had built came to a standstill. It was a sad season but we decided to come out online because our artists were at work painting their responses to the pandemic”. The artists sent pictures of their works as well as the process of creation and these were mounted online, covering 90 senior, middle and upcoming artists.
Social media offers artists, musicians and writers to post their works online and the city artists have responded well to the challenge of ‘5 paintings in 5 days’ on the Facebook, bringing works from some of the best city artists including the reticent master painter Raj Kumar. A remarkable feat in this line is by city photographer Vijay Ozo who has won as many as 43 awards in international photography in minimal depiction of the Lockdown. The show indeed goes on.