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‘The pandemic gave more time to love forms of expression like art’ – how artists recall COVID and celebrate the return of art events

Launched in 2014, PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 670 posts, we featured an art festival, cartoon gallery, world music festivaltelecom expomillets fair, climate change expo, wildlife conference, startup festival, Diwali rangoli, and jazz festival.

Bengaluru’s Chitra Santhe, regarded as India’s largest street fair for art, kicked off its 20th edition this month. A diverse range of styles, genres, themes, and mediums was showcased by over a thousand artists from across India.

See Part I and Part II of our coverage, as well as photo essays on Chitra Santhe editions from the past eight years: 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, and 2015.

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YourStory spoke to a range of artists on their creative journeys. In this article, they share insights on their pandemic experience, its impact on art activities, and hopes for a better future.

“Most of the first week of the pandemic was spent on following the TV news, having a good diet, doing repeated health checks, and keeping well,” Kayal Vizhi explains, in a chat with YourStory.

“But this repeated activity, not interacting with the outside world, staring at the concrete structures, started showing its impact on week two. That’s when I decided to break the cycle and decided to stay positive, the best non-prescription medicine,” she adds.

Kayal Vizhi

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She likes the calmness while she paints. “It enhances our creativity more and has a direct connection to nature without any interruption. Lockdown is for the people, not for creativity and imagination,” she affirms. She started sketching and exploring more artworks during the long months of the pandemic.

“The pandemic was like a speed breaker on a highway. It taught us to slow down, to control, to manage, to rearrange, to plan,” Manjunatha (‘MANZz’) affirms.

“The pandemic gave more time to love forms of expression like art. It helped people become more patient,” he adds.

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Devi Pramod says she surprisingly got more artwork orders during the peak of the pandemic. “As I was working from home at that time and office work was relatively less, it was easier for me to manage my office duties and painting hand in hand,” she recalls.

Rajeshwar Nannuta also got more time to work on his art during the pandemic. “I am working in a private job. In three years, I have done more than 30 paintings,” he says.

“The pandemic indeed created a lot of problems for artists like me to go out and conduct my activities,” laments Hema Vinayak Patil. “But that did not deter me nor stop me from continuing my work. I conducted multiple online activities during this duress,” she adds.

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“I was affected severely by the pandemic. During those days, all my social interactions were stopped. But I strengthened myself and started preparing for the post-COVID era,” Shrabani Misra explains.

During lockdowns, she got adequate time to focus on her work. “I choose to teach my students through the internet. Through these means, I overcame some of the challenges. Now, it is becoming normal each day and we are coming back to our normal pace in life,” she observes.

“It is very difficult to recollect and remember those tough times again. Tears roll down,” Ganapathi Agnihothri explains. He asks: “How does it feel if the designated salary is suddenly reduced or not received at the end of a month?”

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“The lockdown during COVID has literally taken us ten years back financially. The positive note is that several artists, including me, have proven themselves by thinking differently and creating wonderful paintings,” he proudly says.

“The outcome is several paintings that are extraordinary and out-of-the box. Luckily, life is stable, but it definitely will take time to get back the life that was,” Ganapathi signs off.

Now, what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule and find new avenues to apply your creativity?

(All photographs were taken by Madanmohan Rao on location at the fair.)

See also the YourStory pocketbook ‘Proverbs and Quotes for Entrepreneurs: A World of Inspiration for Startups,’ accessible as apps for Apple and Android devices.

Edited by Suman Singh

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