A masked woman whose teary eyes narrate a thousand stories of misery and hope; a humorous scene of man building fortresses of toilet paper; a pair of health workers trying to piece together a jigsaw puzzle, that is the Earth itself.
Layered and intricate, these artworks are on an unusual medium to make a point. Digitally printed on ceramic wall plates, they trace stories and sights that have risen out of the pandemic.
By purchasing a plate the buyer sponsors 250 meals for daily wage workers. Mumbai-based The Plated Project’s latest initiative A Plateful of Hope, which kick-started this month, aims to provide 1,00,000 meals to migrant labourers in a month. Within a week of operations, they managed to dispatch 20,000 meals.
The Plated Project, started last year, is the pet project of Mumbai-based Chlorophyll Innovation Lab, which solely focusses on social impact. “Currently, the data says that there are about 800 million people who are hungry around the world, of which 200 million are in India,” says Chitresh Sinha, founder of The Plated Project.
More than just putting food on the plate in the form of donations, their aim was to also start a conversation around the issue of hunger. That is how the idea of creating art on plates came about — every time someone buys the plate, there would be food on someone else’s.
“Every month, we launch a series that supports the hunger-related goals of different charity organisations. We will have a theme in focus for each month — A Quarter of Nostalgia is one such theme where artists were invited to depict the happiest memory of their childhood on the plate, leaving one-fourth of it blank. The message was pointed at the ratio that 1:4 children are malnutritioned in India,” continues Chitresh.
A Plateful of Hope is their current focus that supports migrant workers who have been left without employment in the wake of COVID-19.
“We know that 140-odd million migrant workers have lost their jobs. For this, we sought Goonj’s support since they have the Rahaat initiative that provides free ration to families of migrant workers,” Chitresh adds.
Other art initiatives
- Art for Charity — a collective of artists who strive to make a chain that connects artists who want to help and buyers who want to contribute with individuals who are making a difference on the ground, across the country. They identify individuals who are personally involved in collecting and providing essential materials to those who are vulnerable. Visit @artforcharity.india to view the works.
- Swastik Saxena, artist: Started the Design to Donate initiative which promotes art and artists by raising funds for a cause. While the cause can change depending on the situation, the core idea remains the same. As part of this initiative, one new artist will be introduced every month who will design in keeping with their specific style. An amounts of ₹500 is to be donated per artwork. Visit @artpandit on Instagram.
In keeping with the fact that the pandemic has a global effect, the initiative sought participation of 70 global artists, of which 20 have been curated for the cause. And, not one of the artists have charged The Plated Project a single penny for their work.
Moreover, donors and sponsors cover the production cost. Which, essentially means that 100 % of the proceedings go towards the meal. “We have launched eight artworks in the last week, and hope to launch the rest in the coming weeks,” says Chitresh. Fifty prints of each artwork is made, before moving on to the next.
The artists who feature are a mix of both upcoming and seasoned artists, adds Dhruvi Shah, the curator. “We look at works that have a larger narrative that the audience can engage with. Most of the works have a layered context to them, be it minimal or otherwise,” says Dhruvi.
The participation from artists has been overwhelming, says Dhruvi, adding that at least a handful write to them wanting to contribute, on a daily basis. Some of the known names that have been featured in this initiative are Santanu Hazarika and Pavan Rajurkar from India, Hana Augustine from Indonesia and Sandhya Prabhat from California.
Priced at ₹1,450 each, the art-plates will be available www.theplatedproject.com.