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Written by Ratnesh Maurya

Tribal artists, contemporary artists, and muralists are sending messages of hope and despair with coronavirus public art.

As much of the world continues to shelter in place, those states and countries slowly easing restrictions are heading out into a world adorned with new art. Tribal artists, Graffiti artists, street artists, and muralists have been taking over social media spaces during the pandemic, using their art forms to express beauty, support, and dissent. From Mumbai to New York, illustrators, cartoonists, painters, and graffitists are depicting their current world view through their art—while galleries seek out new ways of offering support.

Rohan More, Mumbai
This contemporary visual artist has been making art for five years and his breakthrough moment was with the series ‘Vilayti Shauk’, a tongue-in-cheek take on hype culture. “This artwork reflects the irony of the lockdown in India. As humans, I think we’re beings of subjugation, and animals often bear the brunt of that. Now that we are confined to our homes, the earth finally has space to breathe and animals are hopefully getting a break from relentless human activity. That’s what I wanted to communicate through the artwork: that, for once, the captor is now the captive.”

Chotti Tekam, Bhopal
Chotti Tekam is an individual contemporary artist from Kotra Sulatanabad, Bhopal. Her work is based on folklore, tribal customs of her Gondi tribe, and her ethnic group. Her painting maybe a seed of reality visible or the work could be abstract or it could even be a combination of the two. She started her artistic and cultural caravan in the year 1993 with her husband “Santosh Tekam” who is also a refined craftsman and tribal artist. Their work has been showcased at India’s greatest museum Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya. When we asked her to tell us about her work of art she said, “Through love, tribes have been intermixing colors to reveal a new rainbow world, According to The Gond belief system, all things are inhabited by a spirit and, consequently, are sacred. Gond paintings are a reflection of man’s close connection with his natural surroundings.” She recently started her Facebook community called #CaravanIndie with a sole motive for people to share their knowledge about their own traditions, culture, and ethnic heritage.

In times like this creativity can help us deal with and overcome a crisis, I personally believe, ” Creativity is just an epiphany or great revelation or realization of oneself “. I think this ongoing lockdown has given us time to think over upon ourselves and the things around us.