In These Stressful Times, Can Our Creativity Help Us Heal? IGNITE It!

Pandemic times have confined all of us to our homes, but if there's a will, there's a way of connecting, with - IGNITE - From Within the Confines. 

Pandemic times have confined all of us to our homes, but if there’s a will, there’s a way of connecting, with – IGNITE – From Within the Confines. 

When 2020 started, like any other new year, there were plans. But as Robert Burns put it in ‘To a Mouse’
“The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft agley.”
(The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.)

Three months into 2020 and the world was grappling with a pandemic. Life had become eerie. Empty streets, deafening silences and overwhelming speculations. That is when many of us sought respite in the arts. Colours, strokes, words, books, music- the arts offered the resilience we so desired.

Women, more than anyone else, had to bear the brunt of the pandemic. With children and adults locked indoors and work from home/online classes becoming the norm, these have been anxious times for women. And that is when, art in its varied forms, came as a source of hope and relief. From visual arts to graphics, literature and decorative art, creativity was unleashed like never before and ushered light in anxious times.

As Rachel Naomi Remen, author about and teacher of alternative medicine, puts it, “At the deepest level, the creative process and the healing process arise from a single source. When you are an artist, you are a healer; a wordless trust of the same mystery is the foundation of your work and its integrity.”

IGNITE- From Within the Confines- (An Online Exhibition)

There was a palpable need for a hope that everything is not lost in these abysmal times when loss. To this end, a group of artists and poets decided to come together to show that we can light up our world even while we are confined to our homes.

“Being isolated is nothing new to artists, for even when they are within the confines, there’s something constantly burning and igniting in each one of them at the micro-macro levels,” says artist Deepa Gopal, who is also the curator of IGNITE, an online collaboration of artists and poets from across the globe. Deepa who hails from Kerala and is currently residing in Dubai, is inclined towards both painting and poetry, and that is what inspired her to pave way for this collaborative endeavour. She is a visual artist and an art blogger, and her poems have been published in three anthologies.

IGNITE, this unique online exhibition, brings together eight poets and eight artists from different parts of the world, whose work will be presented in the form of videos with introductions, art, poem recitals, and texts through blog, Instagram, YouTube and personal social media handles.

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The artists and poets

We present an eclectic mix. Each poet is paired with an artist, and it’s amusing to see how it has ignited new amalgamations, conversations and creative symphonies.. These artists and poets come from different parts of the world, and yet there’s a similarity in the thoughts and the feelings though the expression and techniques may differ.

The pandemic has brought about the realization that despite cultural and geographical differences, all are connected by an invisible thread. We are plagued by the same problems and hence our solutions are also the same.

This is prominent in the case of women as was also obvious in various social media challenges where they showed solidarity for a single cause (read Black & White challenge). Could art and poetry ignite a similar hope in the world today? Yes, says this unique collaboration.

The artists include Ahlam Abbas (Beirut, Lebanon), Anindita Chakraborty (Hyderabad, India), Deepa Gopal (currently in Dubai, from Kerala), Devan Madangarly (Kerala, India), German Fernandez (currently in Dubai, from Peru), Lauren Rudolph (New York, USA), Liz Ramos-Prado (currently in London, from Peru), and Yamini Mohan (currently in Dubai, from Kerala).

The poets are Ardra Manasi (currently in Manhattan, USA, from Kerala), Ellora Mishra (currently in Hague, from Bhuvaneshwar), Gitanjali Kolanad (Toronto, Canada), Joseph Schreiber (Calgary, Canada), Mini S Menon (Kerala, India), Namratha Varadharajan (Bangalore, India), Radha Gomaty(Kerala, India), and Sonia Dogra (Delhi, India).

You can find all details about the artists and poets here (official blog).

Why IGNITE? And how can you participate?

Can a piece of art or a poem change the world or alleviate its troubles? Maybe not. But they certainly help us deal with those troubles by IGNITING – From Within the Confines.

Should you be a practicing artist or a writer/poet to do something like this? No! Our digital lives connect us, even as we follow norms of social distancing. It can be easily replicated in a neighbourhood, a community of like-minded people trying to uplift each other and society at a time that has increased creative impulses. It’s also a great way to take forward the great circle of sisterhood.

In the words of Deepa, “It’s a ‘conversation’ of the creatives trying to overcome, find joy, forget, annihilate, reveal and/or excel at their current life and state of matters that they are surrounded by in their daily life. All the same, ‘Ignite’ essentially instills hope.”

Deepa also hopes to take the exhibition to the next level and connect it to the cause of special needs children and old age homes in the near future. Seeking to promote poetry and art, the collaboration hopes to raise funds in future and put them to good cause. That is the way to light up the world, even when confined to the four walls of our homes.

You can find the diverse and unique voices in “IGNITE-  from within the confines” from Nov 4-Nov 12, 2020 on our official blog link above, and on our Instagram handle.

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