The fundraiser hopes to raise Rs 20 lakh that will reach 1,000-1,500 artistes.

Folk artists wearing makeup before performance
Features Fundraiser Friday, May 28, 2021 - 18:29

Chennai-based artiste and music producer Tenma, singer and YouTuber Gana Muthu and arts development consultant and entrepreneur Shreya Nagarajan Singh have come together for an initiative that hopes to support folk artistes across Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Telangana districts. The trio have started a fundraiser with a target of Rs 20 lakh. There are several thousand artistes in these three states taken up by the trio though they are keeping the number of beneficiaries between 1,000 to 1,500 to make sure that the benefits are sustained over a long period of time.

“Instead of trying to provide for 20,000 we thought of supporting 1,000 to 1,500 artistes and doing this over the span of 2 to 3 months. This would go on to prove most helpful to them than just a one-time relief package, we are looking at more of a continued effort,” Shreya explains. This list of about 1,500 was put together based on their own contacts. “I had helped a few of them independently last year, they are part of the list now as well. Similarly, Tenma and Muthu had done their bit on their own last year. This time together, we’ve managed to create a cross-section of artistes, patrons, supporters, kuzhus, etc. That intersectionality is the power of the campaign,” she adds.

In Tamil Nadu, the fundraiser will cover artistes in Madurai, Kancheepuram, Tiruvannamalai and north Chennai area. Additionally it will cater to 250 artistes in Telangana and 50 in Karnataka. The team is confident that if this model succeeds, it is definitely scalable to include a wider demography.

They are also working together with collaborators in different districts; there’s Velu Asan, renowned parai artiste from Vadipatti in Madurai, and Thilaga, the first female Kattai Koothu artiste from Kancheepuram district. Gana Muthu, a popular gaana singer and YouTuber who hails from north Chennai also covers a key area of their campaign. “We have made sure the artists who work as nodal points are vaccinated so it becomes safe for them to deliver the care packages. More than anything else, when artists see people from their own community take leadership, that sends a different message. It brings them positivity,” Shreya adds.

Their care package includes groceries, masks, sanitisers and sanitary products. The fundraiser will also set aside a need-based allowance for the health and well-being of the artistes. Shreya further talks about a long-term support process where artistes find a way to really recuperate. “The long-term plan is to give them more platforms, create small opportunities to perform. They really just want to perform for their own happiness. Money and support is needed, yes, but the final relief for them is in being able to perform,” she says.

Those wishing to contribute can do so here