The proceeds from this three-day arts festival will go to the aid of 25 independent artists performing from across India
The viewers of a video see a little kid coming out of a gloomy dilapidated building. He makes a paper pinwheel and starts running, quite unaffected by the gloom or silence all around. “We are also like that enthusiastic kid, running with our ideas and with the same gusto,” says Hyderabad-based Vyshnavi Mallubatla on her debut initiative Pinwheel Arts Festival.
This crowdfunded three-day digital arts festival, to be held between August 14 and 16, brings together 25 artistes from across cities (Lucknow, Kochi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Hyderabad) in India from theatre, poetry, storytelling, music and dance. Film director Tharun Bhascker will also be making a live painting during the event; proceeds from the sale of his artwork will go to artistes.
“Lockdown has been difficult for all, but freelance artistes, whose primary source of income was connected to spaces like coffee houses and cultural centres have been hit hard. Artistes have been performing at digital events but they haven’t been able to monetise their performances,” she says. When an artiste-friend reached out to her a month ago explaining his financial condition and how he has used up all his savings, Vyshnavi, a theatre artiste and also a part-time lecturer, realised this could be the case for most artistes. She decided to organise a fund-raiser for them. “We are making it a non-ticketed event because the idea is to make arts accessible to everyone and the money donated by audience will be given as a remuneration to the performers,” she adds. Since the start of their campaign, the initiative has collected about ₹65,000 till now.
The organising team include the co-founders — Aditya Prasad handling the creatives, Vamsi Sagar and Gopika Jairam, a former copywriter turned full-time musician, poet and theatre artist who is also performing at this debut initiative and Haresh Chaudhary, a student from Annapurna College of Film and Media taking care of technical aspects. “The most difficult part of organising a festival is the pandemic,” states Vaishnavi. The artistes faced health hazards including a few medical emergencies. Some of the artistes who tested positive for COVID-19 had to put off their performances. Since the studio spaces are closed, artists have been shooting videos in their own houses.
Some big names from the Telugu film industry like Nandini Reddy, Priyadarshi, Rana Daggupati and Anish Kuruvilla have lent support to the festival. “Anish sir has been extremely supportive, sharing this initiative every other day. It has been heart-warming to see how all these people who get paid in lakhs for endorsements have come on board to promote it, for free,” says Vyshnavi .
She adds, “We didn’t plan to hold the event on August 15. But am glad that even WFH people will be free this weekend; it is an opportunity for all to engage in arts and experience it.”
(Pinwheel Arts Festival, a YouTube Live event to be held between August 14-16 from 7 to 8 30 pm. For etails, visit ; Check out pinwheelartsfestival.org for details)