Rajkumari Sharma Tankha
Artscrafts is holding a series of online solo shows of paintings by different artists. The show available on its online platform, began with noted artist Nawal Kishore on Jan 26. “A number of eminent artists like Kanu Patel, Padma Shri Tilak Gitai, Sumitra Ahlawat, Dhan Prasad among others are in the pipeline,” says Artscrafts Founder Anil Kejriwal, adding every artist’s work will be displayed for a week. Interestingly, Kejriwal is not taking even a single penny from any participating artist. What’s more, he is not taking any cut in the revenue raised through the selling of art works. He tells us more about his platform:
How and when was Artscrafts incepted?
It all began three years back when a friend gave me a Madhubani painting. Some days later, I asked him about the artist behind the painting, and he told me about Sangita Kumari. He also told me about her sad plight – Covid-19 had caused the closure of the school where she worked as an art teacher putting her in penury. Out of concern I wanted to help her, but she politely refused. Since I wanted to help her, I ordered for four Madhubani paintings from her. But soon I realised that I need to do something more for artists, and hence was born Artscrafts, which was then developed as a platform for unknown artists. Then we got in touch with a number of artists asking them to share the pics of their works with us, which were uploaded on the website. The idea behind was to give a platform to artists to showcase their works and get the real price of arts by bypassing the very high margins of the art galleries. We charge the artists nothing.
How has been the journey so far? How many artists are onboard?
The journey has been a mix of pain and pleasure. We have been overwhelmed by the kind words of artists. During the ‘artist connect mission’ we met many artists who greatly appreciated us for our project, but some were unsure of our intentions. That’s when we decided to rope in some renowned artists as it would instill confidence among those who were having misgivings.
Today, we have more than 200 artists from 15 countries on our platform. But, we are still busy scanning social media to rope more.
During this journey of six months, we have spent over Rs 15 lakh towards purchase of artworks. Whenever I get to know that an artist needs money, I promptly buy his/ her works. This is my way of helping the artists.
Is there any criteria based on which you select the artists, and their works.
Since my motive is to help artists, there is no criteria for selection except the one that the artist is needy.
How many events have been done so far?
Three events so far – India @75, International Children Day and UAE @50. India @75 was done in August 2021. We organised an arts competition and a webinar on the Indian Independence Day. More than 150 artists participated, the event was sponsored by the Bank of Baroda. The Children day art competition was held in October. It was for school students, and 50 students from India, UAE and Sri Lanka participated in it. The UAE@50 was held in the last week of October with the help of two UAE organizations as sponsors
How do you manage funds? Promoting artists free of costs won’t be viable in the long run. How do you propose to make it sustainable?
When I started, I was not having any idea about how much funds would be needed. The Rs 15 lakh we spent till now is from my savings.
But now I do realise that I won’t be able to sustain it on my money alone. So, now I have started taking the help – funds and sponsors – from my friends in different industries.
What are your future Plans?
We take each day as it comes. As of now, other than solo exhibitions which started on January 26, two more events are in the offing –an international arts contest on International Women’s Day and an International arts contest on Hanuman Jayanti.