May 13, 2021
When death rides a virus and shows no signs of being reined in and when gloom descends on the World and no one knows when it will ascend,what does one do. Fight it of course,seem to say these few women, hailing from the Badaga community,the largest single ethnic group in the Nilgiris.
Choosing art to battle the fallout of the pandemic,31 Badaga women,based in different parts of the World,have started showcasing their artworks in an online platform christened ‘Sisters of the Hills’.
The exhibition which was set in motion on May 9 is scheduled to conclude on May 16. Conceptualised and curated by Dublin based Badaga artist Vidya Vivek and hosted on the Facebook page of Badaga Mandha Women (BMW),the online event, got underway virtually,with the blessings of Badagas,who have stood out in their respected fields like the former Additional Chief Secretary,Tamil Nadu Mr.N.Sundaradevan,artist Gokul Gowder of Chiarosouro Gallery and a team of Badaga women like Manjula Rajendran, Sharadha Bellieraj,
Vasanthi Sathyanarayanan and Radha Balu.
Speaking to The Covai Post Ms.Vidya says that of the 31 participants, the youngest is 10 year old Sai Diya Jaganathan and the oldest 64 year old Gayathri Balasubramaniam.
‘The idea is to provide artists of the Badaga community, especially women a platform to showcase their creations. This is the first time an idea such as this has been conceptualized and we are thrilled at the response to the exhibition’ “adds Ms.Vidya.
The participants were asked to submit artworks on the theme ‘Naakubetta’ ( four hills) ,a term which is of considerable significance to the Badagas and other subjects of their choice.
Over 150 artworks in a wide variety of styles and mediums, created by artists in the Nilgiris and other parts of the World, are in circulation .Every day the creations of five artists are being showcased.
Other than that there are live art demonstrations and competitions being conducted online as part of the exhibition,Ms.Vidya says.
Stating that the response has been very positive,she points out that well-wishers have come forward to sponsor prizes.
The exhibition has come as a breather and a positive distraction during these unforeseen pandemic times uplifting the morale of not only the artists but also others, following the event, she concludes.