A group of artists who were associated with the movement against the citizenship matrix has begun selling their artworks online to raise funds to help migrant workers.
They have started drawing postcards and sculpting on ceramics and displaying the artworks on the Facebook page of a charitable platform, Gana Tadaroki Udyog, which has been helping migrant workers.
Labani has been drawing postcards under the pen name Anakh Samuddur. She is a research scholar at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta, and her area of research is on “migrant workers from Bengal”.
The former Jadavpur University student, who occasionally contributes illustrations for People’s Archive for Rural India (PARI), a digital journalism platform, said she had drawn postcards that could be used as bookmarks or desk showpieces.
Each item had been priced at Rs 200 and the sale proceeds added to Rs 5,000.
The girl from Krishnagore got the idea of using paintings as a tool to raise funds from a member of the platform whom she had met during the protest on Park Circus Maidan against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, the National Population Register and the National Register of Citizens.
“I don’t pursue painting as a professional. But the plight of the migrant workers moved me. I decided to translate my skill into a tool to raise funds for them… various platforms have been hit hard for want of funds,” she said.
Shoumit, a regular at the Park Circus Maidan protest, penned and composed “Quarintine Song” and posted it on YouTube with an appeal for help. It fetched Rs 18,000.
Shoumit, who is a scriptwriter by profession, penned and composed the song that speaks of life going topsy-turvy because of the lockdown.
“I appealed to all to contribute whatever they had, considering that it was for people who have been left in the lurch,” he said.
Labani and he have transferred the money to the bank account of the platform.
She has started working on her next set of creations.
Prabir Sutar, a sculptor in Behala, got to know of the effort on Facebook and decided to chip in.
He has posted his ceramic creations on the platform’s Facebook page. “As a sculptor, this is what we can do to help hapless migrant workers, some of whom have died for want of help,” Sutar said.
Both Labani and Sutar said they would deliver their works once the lockdown was lifted.
A member of the platform said art as a form of crowdfunding had struck a chord with many. “We have to think of a sustainable model. If a person thinks he/she can buy a piece of art against a contribution, he/she will always feel enthused.”