Buy a plate, fill a plate: The Plated Project helps you fight hunger with art
Buy a plate to put food on someone else’s. That’s the simple but refreshingly engaging idea behind The Plated Project. The Mumbai-based initiative has in the past four months roped in 40 artists from across the world to work on limited edition art plates. Each plate sold equates to 14 plates of nutritious food for a child.
And high profile artists like The Big Fat Minimalist (Aniruddh Mehta) who worked on the title sequence of Sacred Games and Bharti Dayal whose Madhubani paintings go upward of `1 lakh and sit on distinguished walls like the Prime Minister’s office — were happy to saying yes for a good cause.
Founder Chitresh Sinha who heads the Chlorophyll Innovation Lab (a dedicated collective of creators and problem solvers) was hit by the idea when he was out for a meal at a restaurant. Twenty fours later, his team was brainstorming over themes and logistics. “What’s different about this concept is that in buying one of these plates for your home, you aren’t just funding a meal. Someone is going to ask about that plate, and that creates a conversation which is far more wide-reaching than making a donation.”
We got on an email thread with the art curator of the project Alekhya Raghavan who is a freelance multimedia artist and is specialising in Visual Arts at the University of British Columbia, on diverse styles and the unique plate canvas.
• What art styles have been used on your plates so far?
We’ve had plenty of diversity in terms of style. There is pop-art, free-hand illustration, doodling and more.
• On a plate — with art — less is more, we imagine. Is this a challenge while working with senior artists who are used to large canvases?
Not really. For artists, the space restrictions are an interesting challenge. All of the artists have welcomed the challenge and have had fun working on this.
• Is this an opportunity to weave in trending colours, techniques or imagery — for a wider reach and appeal?
Yes, of course. We do not restrict the artist in any way when they collaborate with us. The focus has been on getting artists to experiment with new styles and colours to bring alive art for impact.
• If these plates are made available internationally soon — are you considering the opportunity to use a lot of Indian styles that would excite a customer abroad, and simultaneously promote an Indian art form?
We are already exploring collaborations internationally. Indian designs and styles like the ones from our Daughters series are very popular with international audiences. So we would be happy to promote Indian art styles while supporting local causes.
To reach out to artists and curate a range of eclectic styles, we’re told that art curators have been roped in from Canada and India. And each collection is designed around a theme with a specific target in mind, based on the needs of the NGO which will receive the proceeds. “Our last collection with six plates was aimed to prevent malnutrition in kids,” Chitresh shares with us. He elaborates, “Each artist was asked to pick one happy memory from their childhoods and paint it. Except there was a catch — they had to leave one fourth of the plate empty, because one in every four children in India is malnourished.” So when people see a plate, they ask of course: why the empty space? And the answer triggers a realisation and awareness that stays on your mind a lot longer than a statistic.
Other series’ have included raising funds for midday meals for students and daughters of sex workers, with more on the way. “These series are not finite and continue to stay live which means that other artists can contribute to them as we go forward,” he adds.
Perhaps the only downside to these art plates is that you can’t literally eat off them. But Chitresh tells us, “We do have some cutlery-specific designs in the pipeline.”
Available online. The cost of a plate is INR 1,420 plus taxes.
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