Showing posts with label Social Cause. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Social Cause. Show all posts

16 Feb 2018

Art Offers Hope To Artist Stricken With Cancer

Kartikey Sharma's inspirational story of living with cancer and finding hope and solace in his art

Rated among the best graffiti artists in India, Kartikey Sharma was directing artists to paint at Sunburn, while on the other hand, he was waiting for his next session of chemotherapy. His is a story of grit and determination, fighting last stage cancer with paints and a brush for 2 years now.

Graffiti by Kartikey Sharma, Image courtesy artist, Art Scene India

“A routine full body check-up in 2009 came as a shocker to my family and me – a tumor was detected in my chest. Soon it was found to be malignant. Luckily, the cancer was in its second stage when it is fairly treatable. I was in class 12th then. Our entire family moved to Mumbai for my treatment. I was declared fit in September 2009, I recovered and took admission in a Pune engineering college, after scoring 88 percent in STD 12 boards. I made a painting after every exam as a stress-busting activity. Although I was into art during my childhood, it never occurred to me that I could make it a career,” he narrates.

He started painting walls when he was in college, and the first big opportunity that came his way was when someone from Red Bull spotted him and commissioned him to paint a wall for them. He painted for fourteen hours straight and the sheer satisfaction that emanated when it was completed was unanticipated, almost incomparable for him. Thus began his professional journey with art.
painting by kartikey sharma,  Image courtesy artist, Art Scene India
Unfortunately for him, the cancer relapsed in February 2016 and spread from his chest to all parts of his body and was diagnosed at Stage IV. “I had to immediately start my treatment and chemotherapy sessions in Mumbai. Doctors had given up on me however my father imported an expensive drug from Germany, which helped me a great deal, but it was a huge financial blow to my family. It has been 2 years since then; I have been under observation in the hospital. The cancer treatment is very painful; gradually one loses patience and the motivation to go on. I came to Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai in January and I am undergoing a bone marrow transplant after chemotherapy failed. I have seen 10 people get bone marrow transplant and 8 of them died,” he explains.

The most important factor in his life have been blood cells - the cancer and its cure both are associated with cells. "I had to go through 'stem cell transplant' in which my mother's cells were injected inside me. These cells saved my life. All my paintings are inspired by these cells. all my paintings are covered with thousands and millions of these tiny cells which together make the complete image."

In the past 2 years while undergoing treatment, he has painted over 80 works and has held a solo exhibition and participated in 2 group shows. He was also invited by TEDx GLIM Chennai to speak about his art and his journey.

“Months and months of looking at pale hospital room ceilings, excruciating pain and powerful drugs in the system is a lot that the body can take, let alone find a colorful way to coexist but I believe that your passion has to be the biggest driving force when you cannot see a light at the end of the tunnel,” he ends on an optimistic note.

You can see and also purchase more of Kartikey’s artworks here.

Write to us to know more about Kartikey’s journey and get in touch if you would like to help in any way. 

Please share this article using the social media widgets at the bottom to help Kartikey raise funds for his treatment and do subscribe to receive regular updates from Art Scene India.

Also read,

19 Mar 2014

Social Cause: Empowering Artists from Raghurajpur

Empowering artists to create a sustainable model for livelihood and helping them conserve local folk art traditions.

It is a travesty that folk artists and craftsmen who work laboriously for hours have to struggle to make a living out of it. Ironically, in the process they contribute enormously in keeping local folk art and traditions alive. Folk and tribal arts and crafts are hugely popular with foreign tourists and the urban population, and yet despite their popularity these artisans receive only a small percentage of the sale amount. Commissions by middlemen and prices involved in handling the logistics make a huge dent in the amount which is received by the artists. 
The vibrant colors on the betel nuts depicting the Lord Jagannatha and his siblings, Image:Revanthv552, Wikipedia
This is a story intrinsic to every region and most vernacular art forms. There are only a few folk art forms which are lucrative for the artists and their families, for instance Gond and Madhubani art forms have entered mainstream galleries and with their contemporization, these have become popular as well as acceptable in higher price brackets. However, not all artists benefit even in these cases.

A social initiative #DoRight draws attention to artists from Raghurajpur – ‘a heritage arts & crafts village where every villager is an artist, and every home is an artist’s studio’. The village is famous for its master Pattachitra painters, an art form which dates back to 5the century BC. In fact, the families in this village practice various forms of traditional Odisha art, such as Pattachitra, tal chitra, silk painting, stone carving, coconut painting, betel nut painting, papier mache & masks, cowdung toys and ganjappa playing cards. Their artworks draw inspiration from mythology, religion and folklore.
 Patta Chitra Painting, showing Ganesha and Shiva, Source: Shakti, Wikipedia
Following an intensive process, these artists prepare the ‘patta’ – material which is made to look like leaves and natural colours; they then outline the design and fill it with vibrant colours. Each artwork can take anywhere from 5 to 15 days and sometimes even longer, maybe even months. Based on the level of detail, intricacy, finesse and the size of the paintings the prices vary anywhere from Rs 500 to 2 lakhs.

As this village enjoys a heritage status (in the year 2000 by INTACH) it does bring in many domestic and international tourists who buy paintings directly from them which benefits them immediately. However as this does not happen on a continuous basis and there are often middlemen involved, there is a huge disparity in the amount which the artists receive through the year.

In an effort to empower themselves the artists plan to sell the artworks directly to the customer through a dedicated website, which they hope to set up as soon as they can raise enough funds with our help. The #DoRight  initiative has the potential to have a ripple effect and inspire other communities of folk artists also, so they can aim for self-sufficiency and not depend on middlemen for their income.

So, here’s hoping that they soon succeed in their endeavors and are able to create a successful model which can sustain the artists' existence and also their art!

Related Posts,
GOND ART: To Empower Rural Children
GOND ART: Jangarh Singh Shyam’s Legacy
MANDANA ART: Expression of Joy

10 Feb 2014

Social Cause: Gond Art by Rural Children

This week we focus on Ahambhumika, an NGO which is working actively to empower rural children by teaching them arts and crafts in an effort to raise funds and to also equip them with vocational skills. 


Gond Art by Ahambhumika, Image courtesy AhambhumikaAhambhumika, an NGO is an active campaigner on social media and strives to raise funds by direct sale and auction of tribal paintings made by their volunteers. The bright and colourful Gond paintings have found many homes and have thereby helped to support them in their work with underprivileged children. Ahambhumika is a small organization based in Bhopal, comprising of a few like-minded people consisting of artists, housewives, engineers, tourist guides, teachers and government employees. Besides supporting a few rural schools, they have a literacy center which provides basic education to 120 rural children.

The organization aims at helping underprivileged children, destitute and orphans by involving people from cities and by collecting material discarded by them (clothes, bicycles, books, toys, newspapers etc.) for the underprivileged people.According to Subrat Goswami, Founder Ahambhumika, “We also impart training in embroidery and art, especially Gond Art to rural children and women. One of our volunteers does the Gond Art and we are now teaching this to a group of rural children. Besides this we also make efforts to raise funds through sale of paintings made by our volunteers.”
 Gond Art by Ahambhumika, Image courtesy Ahambhumika
The Gond tribe is one of the largest Adivasi communities in Madhya Pradesh and as is common with most tribal communities to express their joys and sorrows collectively and in a ritualistic manner, Gond art follows this trend. Their art form conforms to the belief that ‘viewing a good image begets good luck’, which leads them to decorating their houses and floors with traditional tattoos and motifs. Gond art is now practiced on paper and canvas and many artists have found success through this form of tribal art. (Readers will remember that I had written recently about Nankusia Shyam, the wife of the famous Gond artist Jangarh Singh Shyam, you can read the article here.)
Gond Art by Ahambhumika, Image courtesy Ahambhumika

Ahambhumika aims to raise funds through the sale of these paintings. It is wonderful that the organization not only provides literacy to children, but also puts in substantial efforts to empower them by providing skill-based learning. 
Gond Art by Ahambhumika, Image courtesy AhambhumikaGond Art by Ahambhumika, Image courtesy Ahambhumika

If you would like to help them out in any capacity please visit their website or contact them here.