Artists around the country are coming together to render their services in exchange for donations made to the flood relief efforts.

Donate to Kerala and Kodagu get photoshoots and portraits in return Heres how
news Rains Saturday, August 18, 2018 - 19:46

As Kerala and Kodagu in Karnataka reel under heavy flooding, people across the country are making an effort to volunteer, collect relief material or help in some way or the other.

Photographers and artists in Chennai, Bengaluru and other cities are pitching in too – many have joined social media campaigns asking people to donate money for the flood hit areas in return for availing their services for free.

If you look for the ‘Clicks for Kerala’, ‘Click for Coorg’  or ‘Donate for a Portrait’ tags on Instagram, you will come across several artists and profiles, promising everything from caricatures, handmade portraits, family portraits, photoshoots for couples, babies, pets and more.

‘Donate for a Portrait’ campaign

Sharmada Nagarajan, a Chennai-based graphic designer, was as distressed as anyone seeing the devastation caused by the floods in Kerala. Wanting to do something about it, she and her friend Priyadarshini, another graphic designer came up with an idea.

They created the ‘Donate for a Portrait’ where all a person needs to do to earn a caricature, watercolor or digital portrait of themselves, is donate a minimum amount of Rs 750 to Kerala CM’s relief fund. Then they can share the screenshot on social media with the artist in question, and a digital copy of the portrait will be sent to them by the end of the day.


Sharmanda and Priyadarshini

"We only came up with it on Friday afternoon and put it up by evening. Initially it was just 4-5 of us, all batchmates from college who decided to do this. But within no time we got requests from other artists who wanted to join in and be part of the campaign. People from even Delhi, Mumbai and Ahemdabad showed interest,” Sharmada tells TNM.

“We are 22 people now who are making this effort and the numbers are growing as we speak,” the 23-year-old adds. “I think this is working well because when it comes to selling art itself, people are hesitant to buy it. But a portrait or an artwork of themselves is something that catches their fancy more easily.”

Some of the portraits made my artists for donors

Sharmada and a few others are maintaining an online document where they are keeping track of how many people have contributed and requested portraits, who is making them, and how many of them have been made. “So far, about 60 people have sent us proof of their contributions and we have raised about Rs 70,000 through this,” she shares.

‘Click for Kerala’ and ‘Click for Coorg’ campaigns

Meanwhile in Bengaluru, a similar conversation was happening in a WhatsApp group of professional photographers in the city. Anbu Jawahar and Ankit Singh, two members of the group had done something similar to ‘Clicks for Kerala’ when the Chennai floods happened in 2015.

The idea behind these two campaigns is similar to Donate for a Portrait – except here, donors have to donate a minimum of Rs 5,000 and according to the amount, they can avail services for a photoshoot.

“We came up with this three days ago, and we decided to put up a poster on our Instagram stories. We have received messages from photographers in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and even Kerala,” shared Elvin Jacob, a 31-year-old photographer in Bengaluru.

Sowmya Mense, another photographer who is taking part in this campaign, originally hails from Kodagu. “My aunt lost two houses in the flood. I know several other families who have been rendered homeless,” the 36-year-old says.

She put up the ‘Click for Coorg’ post on her Instagram on Friday and has already received 6 to 7 requests. “They have sent me the proof of their donation and out of the Rs 23,000 raised, Rs 10,000 I am giving to Kerala relief fund. The rest, once I collate more responses to the campaign, will be given to Coorg,” Sowmya says.

A challenge, both Elvin and Sowmya, say is to work around their bookings for commercial shoots and include the people who have opted for shoots through the campaign. This is why they have a much more decentralized working system – each photographer can accept as many requests as they can manage and there is no centralized tally.

The participating photographers however, are hopeful that more people will come forward so they more funds can reach the affected areas of Kerala and Coorg.