BHOPAL: Artists can fill their creative appetite through art but not their stomach. Or so it seems, looking at the number of artists in the city forced to take up teaching jobs to make the ends meet. They cannot keep their home’s fire burning without spending a better part of the day in non-artistic pursuits. In fact, most of them are part-time artists and fulltime school teachers.

 Talking to Free Press, Keshav Rout, an art teacher in Anand Vihar School said, “To make career in the art field, I did bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from Nagpur in 2009. We belong to middle class family and also our financial condition is not so good. So, I started teaching just after completing bachelor’s degree and now getting Rs15, 000 a month.”

“See, we can’t run our family through painting only because painting of every artist doesn’t sell. It totally depends on buyers. Also, a common man doesn’t purchase paintings. We need money to live life smoothly, purchase colours and canvas and fulfil family responsibilities,” he added.

He further said, “The government gives scholarships but the amount is very less.  I think, it should be increased and given after checking the annual income of the artist.”

“We teach to meet our daily requirements like to pay room rent, food and purchase colours and canvas. Teaching is our source of income and now it has become a good option to fulfil our daily requirements for any artist who is financially poor. We can’t fully depend on painting. If we had enough money then what is the need to teach and waste our time and energy in school,” said Girish Urkude, who did his masters in Fine Arts from JJ School of Arts in 2011. Urkude, who is now teaching in Sharda Vidya Mandir School, further said, “Nowadays, the government is not paying much attention towards artists. In fact private organisations are doing better than government. They are organising more exhibitions and giving awards. I think, the government should first fill the vacant seats in government art institutions and colleges. And also there should be more regional centres of Lalit Kala Academy. At present, the number is six only.”

Huma, teaching art and craft in All Saint School said, “Now the market of art is down. And we need regular income for running our life. The financial condition of my family is not so good, so I have been teaching for the past seven years. I have got state-level award twice.”

“If the government really wants to do something for art and artists in the state then it will have to give more chance to art students. They should also organise more exhibitions and seminars for art students so that they could really get benefit,” Huma added.

“We do part-time job for purchasing art materials as well as to pay house rent. Artists can’t do work freely until they have financial support. I think, the government provides good scholarship to the needy and genuine artists,” said ceramic artist Jhumuk Das, who hails from Chhattisgarh and teaches in VNS College.

In the same vein, Nidhi Chopra who works in Tribal Museum said, “For the past six years, the condition of art market is worse, not just for the amateur but established artists too. So, artists have to work for their survival. They can’t run their home through painting only. If they don’t work then from where will they bring money for purchasing art materials and how will they survive?” adding, “I feel myself lucky that that I am doing work in an institution where we get good atmosphere for arts.”

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