Giving Back To The Society Of Artists
Empowering the Wanderers: Pensions, Scholarships and Medical Support
As a part of her philanthropic activities, Manjari Chaturvedi is financially supporting the practitioners of Sufi music and Qawwali music. Through the Sufi Kathak Foundation she provides medical support, pensions and annual scholarships to retired artists and the wives of deceased artists and to keen students who do not possess the finances, for pursuing courses in music and dance.
Covid Pandemic Artist Support Programs
Manjari Chaturvedi has been raising funds for all artistes and other performers who can no longer rely on their usual mode of livelihood: live performances at shrines and other venues and recordings. Her “Support An Artist” program has collected donations and provided financial support since April 2020 to the families of 150 artists. These families are from small towns that are affected the worst, where help wouldn’t reach them – Kakori, Barabanki, Badaun, even Lucknow, Sitapur, Khairabad, Fatehpur Sikri, Jhansi, Verka (Punjab). Our efforts have received some press coverage, which can be seen at the links attached
Manjari Chaturvedi Appeals For Artists
MANJARI had appealed on social media for the Government to release cultural program funds to support these artistes: you can see the appeal here- https://www.facebook.com/sufikathak/videos/10220974693651650 And yet even after thousands of shares, no action was taken. So now we are turning to external sources of support for these musicians who carry on this country’s spectacular poetic and musical heritage every day. These musicians come from families where artistic knowledge and practice has been passed down for generations like a precious heirloom. It would be an unspeakable loss to our country if the pandemic forced them to abandon their art and take up other work, as is already starting to happen. We must prevent this crisis and do whatever we can to protect their livelihood, which is our national heritage. Not only is this a financial crisis for them, it is also a mental health crisis. Art is how they connect with themselves, their communities, and their sense of spiritual purpose – losing the avenue to perform has taken a serious toll on them and it’s clear that many are developing what we would call depression. It would be a great tragedy if we lost our nation’s brilliant artists to this debilitating condition.
Artist Sustainability Program
The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted us to rethink several aspects of life – for artists all over the nation, performance has become a thing of the past, at least for now. But small town performance artists have been struggling to survive, and hardly anyone is aware of their distress. The calls that Manjari is fielding at the Foundation from most artists are growing more and more desperate by the day. These artists have grown up living and breathing music as their art, their livelihood, their ancestral tradition, but the pandemic has cut off their access to this vital part of their lives. Most have been struggling to feed their families or pay for their children’s continued education.
But now we want to take this opportunity to provide more robust and long lasting support to these keepers of our nation’s rich cultural heritage, and also to rethink the paradigm around performance in light of the pandemic.
These performance artists are brilliant musicians and yet not tech-savvy enough to keep up in the world of online events and performances. This is where we can help them. Our project “Artist Sustainability Program” proposes to document the Qawwali groups performing in the dargahs or other spaces where they are used to performing every day, and bring these via live broadcast or recording from their own small towns and villages to audiences across the world. The artists will be adequately compensated for the show and their work will be shared on social media and YouTube, thus bringing them visibility that most of them have never enjoyed.
Films : The Qawwali Capsules
Directed By Manajri Chaturvedi
The Qawwali Capsules, where the practitioners speak, is an initiative by Manjari Chaturvedi wherein the practitioners themselves speak about their performance art, their lives, their association with the spiritual art they perform. This is focused on smaller town musicians who practice their art amidst the people in an organic, non commercial set up. Their art form “Qawwali” is sung as a means of spiritual elevation, a music form always associated with the Sufi traditions in India and Pakistan. This is an attempt by the Sufi Kathak Foundation to document the traditions as they exist at the shrines itself.
Sufi Kathak Foundation
An Organizational Set Up By Manajri Chaturvedi
Manjari Chaturvedi, spearheaded and established an institution for performance arts that is in its 12th year of working and is registered with the Indian Government as a not for profit organisation and with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations as a learning centre and with Google Arts and Culture as a museum for documentation of performance arts projects. With the establishment of the Sufi Kathak Foundation she has taken a leap further to financially support marginal artists and students by giving scholarships, pensions and medical support, and providing research opportunities to scholars under the banner of the Foundation. It aims to create awareness about India’s intangible heritage in music and dance and preserve the gradually fading 700 year Sufi Traditions in Music. SKF aims to create a world of cultural unity, by spreading the secular message of the Sufis and also help in initiating children and orienting the youth to become self-employed through arts – dance and music. SKF seeks to evolve a humanist outlook and create centers, organize training classes, workshops and musical concerts to promote Sufi music, Qawwali, Sufi Kathak, and folk & classical dance across the world. In the last decade the Foundation has held 8 national level seminars, 40 cultural events and many lectures at schools and colleges and Universities as part of its initiatives for fast fading art traditions and performance art.
You can reach the foundation website here – www.sufikathakfoundation.com