All over the world, indigenous people and tribal communities carry forward a rich legacy of stories, traditions and visual artistry that is integral to their culture. Indian tribal communities such as Gond, Bheel and Warli from Central India and Mithila communities in Bihar, for millennia, have been using various forms of art to document seasons, animals and spirits that reside in nature and their community’s belief systems.
The current pandemic, however, has left countless traditional artists and artisans in the lurch with no alternate source of livelihood. As galleries, festivals and craft fairs have shut down amidst the lockdown, these artists have found it difficult to find a space to display their work and reach out to potential buyers. The entire sector is in dire need of concentrated support of curators, patrons, galleries and institutions.
Fables of the Earth is a unique collaboration between Ojas Art- a pioneer of contemporary art in India- and #ArtMatters- an ongoing fundraising initiative for artistes by the Teamwork Finer Arts Society- to draw support for the numerous indigenous (tribal and traditional) artists across the country. A celebration of Indian indigenous art, Fables of the Earth will include a specially curated virtual exhibition of 100 exclusive artworks by 10 celebrated artists across the 4 disciplines of Gond, Madhubani-Mithila, Bheel and Warli, on an innovative digital platform designed by XR Central, from 6th August-20th August, ’20. Giving connoisseurs a channel of interaction with the artists and their art in the digital realm, it will go a step further with an online sale of the artworks, providing art enthusiasts with the opportunity to support India’s treasured art communities, as they purchase some spectacular works of art.
Keeping the creators and their narratives at the forefront, Fables of the Earth will showcase works by award-winning artists; stalwarts, who are renowned in their respective genres for carrying forward their legacy and for carving out a contemporary idiom for their work. This includes artists such as Bhajju Shyam (Gond), Santosh K. Das (Madhubani-Mithila), Lado Bai and Subhash Amliyar (Bheel) and Rajesh C Vangad (Warli) who are all Ojas Art awardees; Sadashiv Jivya Mashe, who in his magnanimity opted to not apply for the award; Durga Bai Vyam, a leading Gond artist who was given a special spotlight at Kochi-Muzris Biennale in 2018 and Dilip Shyam and Sher Singh Bheel, who are well established in Bhopal, amongst many others.
The virtual exhibition and sale will not only give art enthusiasts and collectors the chance to view an array of artworks but also the opportunity to buy across a wide price range starting from INR 5,000 to INR 2,40,000.
Sharing his thoughts on the initiative, Sanjoy K. Roy, Managing Director at Teamwork Arts said, “Fables of the Earth has been developed as a part of our #ArtMatters initiative, to extend a helping hand towards the Indian artist community affected by the pandemic. It is a unique initiative by the Ojas Art Gallery and #ArtMatters to draw support for the numerous indigenous (tribal and traditional) artists, who for centuries have been preserving our stories through their craft. Keeping the creators and their narratives at the forefront, Fables of the Earth provides art enthusiasts an opportunity to explore Indian indigenous art within the digital realm like never before.”
Anubhav Nath, Director at Ojas Art said, “Ojas Art is very happy to partner with #ArtMatters in supporting this initiative, which will go a long way in supporting artists and also help preserve the creative fabric of our country. We hope Fables of Earth becomes a recurring exhibition and helps take the indigenous arts to the next level.”
NetproPhets Cyberworks and XR Central are the technology partners in the initiative. NetProphets Cyberworks is an integrated business solutions firm that combines Technology, Design and Data Science to create customer experience and engagement. They specialise in providing technical life to brands and businesses. XR Central specializes in building learning and training use cases across verticals and creating immersive digital experiences and spaces with an aim to positively impact brand recall and elicit a wow factor.
Sharing his delight Amitabh Vira, CEO at NetProphets Cyberworks said, “We are proud to be a consulting partner to Ojas Art and #ArtMatters and introduce India’s first 3D exhibition of Folk Art – Fables of the Earth – to all enthusiasts and patrons of traditional folk art of India.”
Anshul Agarwal & Shrey Mishra from XR Central jointly said, “We are proud to be the technology partner for #ArtMatters and Ojas Art in building their first-ever virtual 3D space for Art Exhibition- Fables of the Earth.”
An ode to the brilliance of India’s rich artistic traditions, Fables of the Earth will seek to empower indigenous artists as it brings to the fore their diverse cultures, giving us a glimpse into their day-to-day lives, beliefs, dreams, struggles and aspirations.
An initiative by the Teamwork Fine Arts Society- a not-for-profit organisation that is committed to the cause of promoting and preserving art, literature and craft- #ArtMatters is a platform that is working towards creating awareness about the current reality of various artistes across India and developing support channels for them. Since its inception in April, over 100 artistes have participated in the #ArtMatters campaign through video appeals and testimonials. It has also partnered with UNESCO (The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry) and ICCR (Indian Council for Cultural Relations). Given the large-scale need for financial help in the cultural sector, #ArtMatters has partnered with organisations across the country such as Rajasthan Josh Sidhar Vikas Sansthan, which is raising resources for families of folk musicians in a village in Jaisalmer, the Brahmaputra Cultural Foundation, which is helping artistes and their families in Assam, and the Vimor Handloom Foundation, which is working with weavers across the country. #ArtMatters has also joined hands with various industry leaders including Raw Mango and Aditi Mangaldas for a series of short films by Aditi Mangaldas titled, ‘Within…from Within’, which not only shed light on the current reality of performing artists but also helped raised resources for them.
Another arm of the #ArtMatters campaign will be the #ArtMatters fundraising Gala that will help in providing financial support and resources to artistes and artisans as well as celebrate their craft and tradition by bringing their stories to the forefront. The concert will feature numerous folk musicians, dancers, visual artists, and theatre practitioners, as well as some of the most celebrated names from the arts community.
#ArtMatters is currently working with multiple artistes, artiste communities and organisations across the country. Since its inception, it has partnered with Rajasthan Josh Sidhar Vikas Sansthan, which is raising resources for families of folk musicians in a village in Jaisalmer, the Brahmaputra Cultural Foundation, which is helping artistes and their families in Assam, and the Vimor Handloom Foundation, which is working with weavers across the country. Other noteworthy partners include UNESCO (The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry) and ICCR (Indian Council for Cultural Relations). #ArtMatters also joined hands with Raw Mango and Aditi Mangaldas for a series of short films by Aditi Managaldas titled, ‘Within…from Within’, with the objective of providing awareness about the difficulties being faced by the artist community across the country. The collaboration not only shed light on the cause at hand, but also helped raise resources for performing artists affected by the repercussions of the pandemic.