Published: 27th August 2020
Here's how the Aravani Art project helped transwomen make a living during the lockdown with just paint and canvas
They will continue to sell their artwork on Instagram even after the world goes back to normal. Check it out
The COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing lockdown has affected the marginalised sections of society the most. Transpersons are one of the most affected and Aravani Art Project, based in Bengaluru, a women and transwomen art collective is one of the few who stepped up to help the community. Though their major focus is on public and wall art, Aravani shifted to canvases for a while and the revenue generated from the sales was used to help the transwomen in the group and also the rest of the community.
When the pandemic reached India and the Prime Minister announced a lockdown it was a major jolt to our daily lives. Aravani members too took some time to acclimatise with the changed scenario, said Poornima Sukumar, Director of the project. "We took about two months to decide what to do next. Then we decided on shifting to the canvas. We had the basic knowledge of art and it was not too different on the canvas," she said. "We put up posts on Instagram and that's where we got our orders from. What we did not expect is the overwhelming response that we received. We take orders and then start working on it," she added. While half of the earning from each sale goes to the artist and a portion is kept aside to buy the necessary stationery, the rest is used by the members to help others from their community buy essential food items like rice, dal, sugar, oil and even medicines.
Now that the country is getting back to its daily routine or rather a new routine in a phased manner, the Aravani members are back on the streets and on the walls again. This time it's an installation that depicts the sacrifice and struggle of frontline workers and all the characters are obviously wearing masks. "The project has been commissioned by Museum of Art and Photography (MAP) in Bengaluru and this time we are working on the large sheets used to cover construction sites. The idea for the installation is to depict the temporary aspect of our lives," Poornima added. If you are in Bengaluru you can check out their art in progress on Kasturba Road.