Bhopal artist Hemant Rao
Bhopal artist Hemant Rao
FPJ

BHOPAL: Artists from Bhopal, participating in an online art camp, said that it has not only given them an opportunity to work in these difficult corona times but is also bringing some income to them while sitting at home and adhering to corona protection norms.

The Madhyam Online Central Regional Camp, which began on December 16, will continue up to December 21. Artistes from Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Bihar are participating in the camp, being organised by Pune-based Hina Bhatt Art Ventures. Nearly seven artistes from Bhopal have taken part in the camp.

Hina Bhatt is the ideator and programme coordinator of the camp, while Vasanth Rao is the curator and consultant. One senior artist from each of the participating states has been appointed mentor. The Ventures has organised separate camps for east, west, north, south and central zones.

Yusuf, a senior artist from the city and a former director of the Graphics Department of Bharat Bhavan is the mentor for the camp from the state.

Yusuf said that art camps are events where painters reside together at one place for some days, typically a week, and make paintings, however, due to the pandemic such events are not being organised.

Online art camps have emerged as an alternative. In these camps, the artistes make paintings sitting at their homes and get paid for them, he said.

According to Yusuf, such camps are godsend for young and upcoming artistes, who have been doing virtually nothing for the past nine months. That is not only extremely frustrating for the artists but has also landed them in financial problems, he added.

Bhopal artist Vandna Nayak
Bhopal artist Vandna Nayak
FPJ

Anil Ijeri, one of the participating artists said that this is his fourth online art camp since April. “We have been given the freedom of choosing our own theme. The organisers have only specified the size of the canvas which can be either 3 feet by 3 feet or 2 feet by 4 feet,” he explained. Anil is preparing two paintings in mixed media on canvas. His works are titled “Flying Man’ and ‘Gyani’. Both are figurative. “This is a very welcome initiative. It helps artists keep themselves busy, besides fetching much-needed income for them. It is the government which should have stepped in to provide succour to the artistes,” he added.

Yosuf, however, said that while online art camps are welcome, they cannot be compared with the real thing. “When artistes stay together and work together for some days, it helps them understand each other’s formats, textures and (artistic) values. They interact with each other. That is missing. But then, something is better than nothing.”

Hemant Rao, who is making abstract works on canvas with dry pastel, said his theme is exploring light and life. “Such camps provide us with the much-needed financial support and also a chance to keep in touch with our fellow artists,” said Rao.

Hansa Milan Kumar, another participant, is also preparing an abstract painting using pen and acrylic on canvas. “This is my second online art camp. It is a very good initiative for artists especially in the pandemic,” she added.

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