Experimenter launches a co-operative production fund to support artists in a post-pandemic world
Kolkata-based Experimenter art gallery has announced an open call for Generator, a co-operative art production fund. The fund will award several production bursaries throughout the year to visual artists to help them with their projects. This is all the more significant because the global pandemic has obviously led to a cultural slowdown where art production has been affected massively.
“Artists who have little or no representation, who cannot fall back upon their galleries to support them, or don’t have global careers will reduce making work, spend lesser on materials and may move on to other available opportunities to sustain themselves and some young artists may actually never return to making art again,” says Prateek Raja, who co-founded Experimenter with Priyanka Raja.
So, how does the fund exactly work, and who is eligible? Let’s find out:
Tell us why did you decided to start the fund?
The idea of a cooperative fund was in our minds for several years now. It was originally seeded by artist and close friend, Bani Abidi who lives in Berlin and is a firm believer of decentralisation and equitable distribution; she wanted to start a cooperative fund between artists, galleries and collectors which could be used to help artists all over the world, especially in those places where there is a serious lack of institutional support for the arts. The recent restrictions and lockdowns made us all realise the urgency of such a fund and take a good look at our role in the larger community beyond our own artists and our responsibility towards the arts.
How does the fund work?
Visual artists from any disciple and any geography can apply. There are no age restrictions or any other qualifying restrictions. This fund is about friendship, collaboration, trust and support. The projects can be submitted at any time and will be responded to within 60 days. In this time, we work with our jury of artists and select the most deserving projects. The funds available are from USD 500 to USD 2000 each, and may be awarded to each artist only once a year to keep it wide. Therefore there is complete transparency.
What do you think is the biggest challenge for any artist amid the global crisis?
A reduced opportunity spectrum is a serious issue. Mental health is the most under-explored aspect of the lockdown. Artists don't lead structured lives and sustaining a life in isolation has a larger impact that may not be seen immediately. Many artists who have important, career-marking shows are getting their exhibitions postponed or even cancelled. This impacts work and motivation. Works that are on loan elsewhere are stuck because of reduced global movement and flight bans. There is also no indication of how the market will respond after things ease out or if there will be a seriously lowered private appetite for art in the post-pandemic world.