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ShopArt ArtShop: An event to celebrate contemporary art and village life in Gunehar, Himachal Pradesh

Local elements available in Gunehar, Himachal Pradesh are used to create masterpieces that are displayed in the empty shops lining up the village.

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Delhi-based artist Puneet Kaushik, Gunehar's Frank Schlichtmann and British-Indian pop artist. source: www.scroll.in
  • ShopArt ArtShop has been successful in opening up the village of Gunehar, Himachal Pradesh to the world of contemporary art
  • In 2013, by the end of the festival, the entire village had been transformed into an art gallery
  • The second edition of SA AS took place from May 14- June 14, 2016 and it involved 11 contemporary artists from India and the world

In a one of its kind art festival, or rather art celebration, ShopArt ArtShop (SA AS) is successful in opening up the village of Gunehar, Himachal Pradesh to the world of contemporary art.

Located in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, India, Gunehar is a small hill village populated mainly by the nomadic tribes of Gaddis and Bara Bhangalis.

According to the Indian Express report, Frank Schlichtmann- the mind behind SA AS, settled in Gunehar 8 years back. His childhood memories and love for the state of Himachal Pradesh called out to him.

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In his bid to do something for the village he loved, in 2013, he invited 13 artists from all over India and world to transform the various empty shops lining the village into art shops.

The 2013 event was a success and therefore this year the members declared ShopArt ArtShop2 that started on May 14, 2016. In the month month long festival, the artists from India as well as abroad participated in the paid residency.

In their month long stay, the artists lived with the villagers, became a part of their lifestyle and created contemporary art that was displayed in these empty shops and desolate places. The artists were able to successfully experience another culture and lifestyle.

The villagers were also equally involved in this event. By the end of the festival, the entire village had been transformed into an art gallery. Local elements had been used to create masterpieces that were displayed in the shops.

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The initiative had been a huge success. More than 6,000 people had visited the remote village which is not easily found on a tourist’s map.

A group of international artists are in residence in Gunehar — a remote hill village — in a bid to engage in ‘non-elitist’ art. Image Source: IANS
A group of international artists are in residence in Gunehar — a remote hill village — in a bid to engage in ‘non-elitist’ art. Image Source: IANS

“It is a unique conceptual arts project that brings emerging artists — alongside established artists — to a remote village for a month-long project, ending in a festival of arts, culture, exhibitions, movies, fashion shows and drama,” said SA AS curator Frank Schlichtmann to the Indian Express. “ShopArt ArtShop is first and foremost about being able to present art beyond the confines of the contemporary city-based art scene. It’s an opportunity for a group of artists to come together in a fully-funded month-long residency organised by the 4tables project,” said Schlichtmann to the Indian Express reporter.

Kaushik’s installation of the Metal Rose. souce: www.indianexpress,com
Kaushik’s installation of the Metal Rose.
souce: www.indianexpress,com

The second edition of SA AS took place in May 14- June 14, 2016. Organised in collaboration with artists Ketna Patel and Puneet Kaushik, the art celebration involved 11 contemporary artists from India and the world.

“The artists who came for the residency programme were taken around the village to choose their spaces. It turns out that for the second time running, not only were all the landlords totally accommodating, but also did not ask for rent,” said a happy Schlichtmann to the Indian Express.

The final day of the festival was a huge success complete with fashion shows, music, film screenings, and more.

The event has been able to maintain the village intact and open it up to the world of 21st century. It bridges the gap between urban art and rural setting. It also opens up the process of inception of a concept to the completion of the artwork to the public.

It is not wrong to say that ShopArt ArtShop is a one of its kind event that celebrates contemporary art, the simplicity of village life, differences among cultures and urban artists.

-by Devika Todi, an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: devika_todi

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Joining Hands For A Better Future

Foundations and NGOs take initiatives online to enable people to contribute to their efforts to build a better world

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NGOs and Foundations
Foundations and NGOs take initiatives online to enable people to contribute to their efforts. Pixabay

As digital and tech are the new normal, Foundations and NGOs take initiatives online to enable people to contribute to their efforts. To that end, the Swades Foundation, CRY, and TikTok joined hands to launch the #EVERYVIEWCOUNTS campaign to ensure a better future.

The #EveryViewCounts mobilized the TikTok community to watch LIVE sessions hosted by popular celebrities and content creators on the platform which was monetized and TikTok donated INR 5 crore to Swades Foundation & CRY. IANSlife spoke with Puja Marwaha, CEO, CRY (Child Rights and You) and Nikhil Gandhi, India head, TikTok for more details and the initiative.

Q. How difficult it has been for foundations to do social work during COVID-19

Marwaha: There’s no denying that the lockdown was indeed required to combat the spread of COVID 19, and the government rightly imposed it as a mandatory requirement. The single biggest challenge was to reach the children in groups, as all schools and Anganwadi (ICDS) Centres were closed due to the lockdown. Hence we had to reach them at their households, and had to knock every doorstep.

Thankfully, with our grassroots level partner organizations’ embedded presence at every village in our intervention areas, we have been able to reach the children and been able to support them. So far, with the help of our partner organizations, we have been able to reach out to more than 65 thousand households and more than 96 thousand children so far.

Q. Do you feel that the Government has demonstrated a lack of incentive and support for NGOs and foundations supporting those in need

Marwaha: Both the Union and State Governments are doing their bits to ensure that underprivileged children and communities are well protected and in a position to weather the crisis. The immediate impact of the pandemic is visible with the mass migration of the daily wage earners who have lost their livelihoods. With hardly any money to buy provisions, they are struggling to provide for their families – a situation that is not only causing unbearable hunger but also putting their children, who are already undernourished, at the risk of severe malnutrition.

CRY foundation
CRY foundation is reaching out to the ones in need amid the pandemic. PC: CRYorganization

Absence of midday meals due to the closure of schools and Anganwadi (ICDS) Centres has added to the misery of children. However, the Anganwadi Workers (AWW), Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) and Auxiliary Nurse Midwives (ANM) have been the real heroes risking their lives to ensure that every child’s need has been taken care of. But it’s a long road ahead and we need all the help we can get. Partnering with TikTok has helped us get the timely support we need – their initiative to bolster our efforts is absolutely wonderful and has come at the right time

Q. Give us a few details about the #EveryViewCounts campaign.

Gandhi: During these difficult times, we continue to do our part by supporting organizations working towards providing relief to communities impacted by the pandemic. The teams at Swades Foundation and CRY strive to support the underprivileged sections of society and make a direct impact on their lives. It has been humbling and inspiring to see the participation of the TikTok community in the #EveryViewCounts campaign to spread awareness about the cause. We hope that our contribution of INR 5Cr helps them in their COVID-19 relief efforts.

The Swades Foundation works towards empowering lives in rural India. The plight of the migrant workers who are making inroads back to their villages and their families is set to get harder with additional income drying up, as they no longer have an income stream from their jobs as urban labour.

With the share of funds that Swades Foundation receives, it is committed to build the livelihoods of people in rural Raigad by engaging them in farm-based activities, animal husbandry, or skilling. Some part of the funds will also be invested in scholarships to children to ensure that this crisis does not hinder their aspiration to learn and march ahead to a brighter future.

Building livelihoods and helping the community become self-reliant is of utmost priority for the foundation. They have been in constant touch with the communities since the lockdown and are helping, especially the Adivasi families with food and daily essentials. The next steps for them is to rebuild their lives and livelihoods for the future gens.

Helping amid the crisis
CRY is working relentlessly in providing supplementary hygiene products, nutrition and food security and tools of education to ensure the overall health and wellbeing of the children. Pixabay

CRY is committed to changing the lives of underprivileged children and for over four decades it focused on socially deprived communities in the remotest corners of India. As India struggles with the COVID-19 outbreak, children from underprivileged communities are at greater risk. With lowered immunity due to malnutrition and lack of access to healthcare facilities, they are even more vulnerable to this disease in future. Unable to go to school, their education is also suffering and they’re at risk of dropping out completely.

CRY’s COVID-19 programming focuses on:

Providing supplementary hygiene products and ensuring preventative health and hygiene practices within the community for in the future. Ensuring nutrition and food security that is currently completely dismantled as fallout of the pandemic. Ensuring that children continue learning even amidst the changed circumstances

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With lowered immunity due to malnutrition and lack of access to basic health care facilities, children from underprivileged communities are even more vulnerable. CRY is working relentlessly in providing supplementary hygiene products, nutrition and food security and tools of education to ensure overall health and wellbeing of the children to benefit them in future. Raising awareness amongst these communities on necessary precautions and available medical facilities etc., in addition to connecting them with government schemes. (IANS)

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Google Fellowship Initiative for Journalism Students Opens Applications

Google fellowship in journalism aims to support students of colour

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journalism
The Google News Initiative Student Fellowship initiative has opened applications for a 10-12 weeks paid programme for students aspiring to build a career in journalism. Pixabay

The Google News Initiative Student Fellowship initiative, aimed at developing and supporting students of colour who are interested in careers in journalism, has opened applications for a 10-12 weeks paid programme.

The selected fellows will be given a travel payment of $1,000, plus a stipend of $5,000 for the course of the programme which will run from roughly September to December, Google said on Monday, adding that applications close on August 1.

“All fellows, who will have the opportunity to work remotely, will be selected by nine host newsrooms: Eugene Weekly, Houston Press, Isthmus, al Día en America, La Noticia, Vida Newspaper, the Washington Informer, the Omaha Star and the NNPA Newsroom,” Ashley Alese Edwards, U.S. Partnerships Manager, News Lab at Google, wrote in a blog post.

“Fellows will have the opportunity to work on editorial, revenue, and technology projects at the host publications.”

The newsrooms in the US often do not reflect the diversity of the audiences they cover.

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The newsrooms in the US often do not reflect the diversity of the audiences they cover. Pixabay

A 2019 survey by the American Society of News Editors estimates that less than a quarter of newsroom employees identify themselves as a person of colour, compared to the US population, which is 24 per cent. The percentage is even smaller for newsroom leadership.

Google said its News Initiative Student Fellowship programme intends to address the barriers of access to early career opportunities many students of colour face, as well as support investigative journalism, technological innovation, and digital transformation in local newsrooms that serve diverse and underrepresented populations.

“Lack of internship and fellowship opportunities contributes to why many U.S. newsrooms don’t reflect the communities they cover,” Edwards said. (IANS)

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Showing Support to The Chanderi weavers Amid Lockdown

In tough times, it is difficult for weavers to sell their products, showcasing their work online can be immensely helpful

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Chanderi weavers
Lending support to Chanderi weavers in these times becomes immensely important. IANS

In tough times, it is difficult for weavers to sell their products and sustain their craft during these difficult times. Showcasing their work online can be immensely helpful. One needs understand that the lockdown has had a severe impact on artisans as it has severely affected their sales and production.

“With artisans and weavers having been hit badly because of the lockdown, Weaverstory a specialised online marketplace, has decided to give reasonable prices, so that customers can buy different products from across India and abroad too. This is helping the weavers sell their products to sustain during these difficult times. Every artisan or weaver is given a separate space to exhibit their products and this is the first time they are trying something like this,” said Nishant Malhotra co-founder of Weaverstory.

WeaverStory launched an “Authentic Chanderi Collection” which helps artisans to become self-reliant. Chanderi, from central India is one of the best-known handloom clusters, particularly famous for its sarees, made with a mix of silk and cotton.

weavers
India is one of the best-known handloom clusters, particularly famous for its sarees, made with a mix of silk and cotton. Pixabay

“Most of them sustain themselves only by selling their products and what is really important is to sell their products on time. Hence, this is the only way to sell whatever they have produced in the past two months. We ensure that the money goes to the artisan’s account within three working days and provide financial support to them during the lockdown,” Malhotra added.

The chanderi saree is a handwoven variety from the traditional weavers of Madhya Pradesh. Woven predominantly in cotton and silk yarn, the material has a subtle sheer surface. The assortment has in store the variety of sarees, dupattas, suits in vibrant colours, royal blues, and red and mustards.

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There have been changes in the methodologies, equipment and even the compositions of yarns over the years, but there is a heritage attached with the skill associated with high quality weaving and products. The weavers from this area a have even received appreciation and royal patronage. WeaverStory has been focussing predominantly on the weaves, reviving designs from museums and traditional forms, and working with weavers themselves. (IANS)