Bihar’s artists seek help from Lalit Kala Akademi to tide over Covid crisis
The visual artists in Bihar last month gave a memorandum to the state government seeking monthly pension among other assistance but have not heard yet from the state.
Visual artists in Bihar have requested the National Academy of Arts in Delhi, popularly known as Lalit Kala Akademi, to launch a welfare programme to help them survive the financial impact of Covid-19 pandemic. They have also demanded greater inclusion in exhibitions and art camps held nationally by the academy to revive their earning, which has dried up since March last year, when restrictions on cultural events and exhibitions first kicked in to contain the pandemic outbreak. The artists earlier also approached the Bihar government for financial assistance.
Bihar has a large community of visual artists including painters, sculptors and installation art makers apart from craftsmen including for internationally celebrated Mithila and Manjusha art and Sikki craft. It is also home to contemporary art geniuses such as Subodh Gupta, an installation art maker.
“As most of these artists and craftsmen have been dependent upon exhibitions, shows, art camps and workshops, they are now in trouble. None of these activities have been held in the last 17 months due to the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown. We want the Central Lalit Kala Akademi to launch a welfare programme for us,” Shyam Sharma, the Padmashree award winning block print artist from Bihar, said.
Birendra Kumar Singh, a painter and Bihar Kala Manch secretary, said the visual artists last month gave a memorandum to the state government seeking monthly pension among other assistance. “Bihar chief secretary Tripurari Sharan had assured us of all possible help, but it was still awaited. That is why we have to knock at the doors of the Central Lalit Kala Akademi,” Singh said.
Uttam Pacharne, the pro-tem chairman of Lalit Kala Akademi in Delhi, said the institution will plan welfare programmes. “But we are waiting for the artists of the state to send proposals in this connection.”
“There is also a plan to organise a National art camp in the state capital [Patna]. Delhi Lalit Kala Akademi has its camp office in the city and the event was being planned there. Altogether 30% artists in the camp will be from the state while the rest will be from other areas. It will provide good financial support and exposure to a wide variety of art styles,” he said.