Saffronart will host a 24-hour online Covid- 19 Relief Fundraiser Auction – ‘Art Rises for India’ on 19-20 May 2021, with over 100 artworks donated by the Indian art community. In view of the raging Covid-19 epidemic affecting India and the world at large, this is a timely initiative wherein all proceeds of this no reserve sale, including reduced buyer’s premium, will be donated to grassroots level NGOs working to offer relief to the afflicted in these tough times. As a conscious and conscientious voice in the world of contemporary Indian and Southeast Asian art, Akar Prakar along with artists whom they represent have generously donated important artworks to the cause. The auction will include works by Ganesh Haloi, Gopal Ghose, C. Douglas, Jayashree Chakravarty, Debanjan Roy, Dakoji Devraj, Debasish Mukherjee, and Piyali Sadhukhan. In a telephonic tete-a-tete with each of the artists, wherein the internet connection continued to get interrupted owing to bad signals and even a thunderstorm, we discussed the effects of the pandemic on their artistic practice. Prolific artist Ganesh Haloi sounded extremely distressed about how the second wave of the pandemic has resulted in suffering and misery all across the country. Ganesh Haloi | Untitled | Watercolour on Paper | 24 x 32 in | 2007 He decided to contribute to this cause in order to make a difference, albeit small, and help fellow Indians through his art. The artwork that he chose to donate holds a special meaning for him. Debanjan Roy | Gandhi with Head Phone | Fibreglass with automotive paint | 18 x 12 x 6 in | 2010 Debanjan Roy opined, “Artists are an integral part of society and they are suffering as much as the rest of the populace. It is tough to get creatively motivated in these tough times especially when livelihoods are so badly affected. There are no actual shows taking place in the lockdown and everyone’s priority is to save themselves from this virus.” He further added, “This is a great initiative wherein we can try and help at least a few people battling this war. Therefore, I decided to contribute my sculpture Gandhi with Head Phone, a meaningful piece created some years ago.” Jayashree Chakravarty | Untitled | Mixed media on paper | 19.75 x 27 in Jayashree Chakravarty was emotional about this unprecedented situation and said, “There is so much pain inside the heart seeing so many people losing their lives.” On a more positive note, she felt that “The auction is a very valuable gesture wherein artists are uniting for a common cause and helping society.” Piyali Sadhukhan | Nepali handmade paper, canvas, cotton fabric, bangles, acrylic paint | 65 x 45.5 in | 2019 Young Piyali Sadhukhan is unhappy at the ongoing situation. She worries about the future of art shows and how young artists will sustain themselves in the future. The work that she has donated is made of broken bangles and acrylic paint on Nepali handmade paper, canvas and cotton fabric. She attributes special significance to bangles, which symbolize an attempt to violate a woman, resulting in broken bangles. It is a beautiful metaphor as something that is so beautiful as a bangle and is used for adornment can be a cause of so much pain when broken. For Piyali, it also mirrors the ongoing situation where pain is omnipresent and love and affection can no longer be expressed by a hug or a handshake. Manish Pushkale | Untitled | Acrylic on paper | 22.5 x 19.75 in | 2020 Delhi-based artist Manish Pushkale says, “The year 2020 can be remembered as the year of our life paused between our wonder and worries. The works which I have done during this pandemic period are a metaphor of this dichotomy. I believe that each of us has to make a difference and has to contribute towards a better society, and the best way is to come forward in our own little way.” Gopal Ghose | Untitled | Water color on pen | 14 x 22 inch | 1980 D. Devraj | Untitled | Water color on paper | 19.5 x 27 in | 1966 Debasish Mukherjee | Untitled | Wood, paper, terracotta, fabric and acrylic paint | 40 x 40 in | 2016 C. Douglas | Untitled | Mixed media on paper | 5 x 3 in The catalogue for the auction is live on www.saffronart.com.