South Asian Arts Resiliency Fund Awards Grants to 24 Artists
A total of 24 South Asian artists from various disciplines, including dance, visual art, theatre, film and design, have been awarded grants by the The South Asian Arts Resiliency Fund (SAARF), an arts project funding program created by the India Center Foundation (ICF), over two rounds since mid-April. A third round is currently underway with an application deadline of June 26th. The Fund, open to South Asian-American artists and arts workers who have been impacted by the economic fallout of COVID-19, has already raised about $40,000, which is being rapidly distributed to grantees.
"The money is being donated mostly by individuals who are passionate about the arts and want to support those who dedicate their lives to it," says Raoul Bhavnani, one of ICF's Co-Founders. "From filmmakers to performance artists, visual artists, writers and musicians, the grantees hail from across South Asian countries of origin who represent its culture through their art here in the U.S."
Nepali musician and grant winner Shyam Nepali says, "This grant is very important for me because as a musician from Nepal living in the U.S., I am here not just for me, but as an ambassador wanting to give Nepali music a wider audience. To focus on creative work is not easy without financial support, as gigs have been cancelled. I now have time to work on my Sarangi tutorial materials, and the grant allows me the freedom and time to focus on that."
Despite many of the applicants being accomplished in their fields, they are finding it hard to fund their work during this pandemic. Round two grantees include artists like sitarist and teacher Abhik Mukherjee from New York, who has received a scholarship from India's Ministry of Culture and is a member of the immensely popular Brooklyn Raga Massive. Awardee Sanjib Bhattacharya from Ohio is a globally recognized Manipuri dancer who is also an award recipient from former Indian President, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. Illinois arts worker and artist Tulika Ladsariya's paintings have been written about in publications such as Elle and Time Out.
Mr. Bhavnani adds, "Despite the easing of lockdowns around the country, artists are likely to see restrictions on the ability to practice their crafts for many more months. In years to come, it will be their creativity that will help us recollect this unprecedented time. It's so important to give them the resources now to do just that." A full list of awardees and a link to donate to the Fund can be found on the ICF website, TheIndiaCenter.us.
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