It is a wonderful way of using art to support art. The newly founded Jasutara Art Foundation for children put on an art exhibition at the NAFA art gallery at Bal Mandir showcasing 57 works from 23 artists, all of whom generously agreed to donate 50 percent of the proceeds of every sale to the foundation so that orphaned and underprivileged children may be able to pursue a career in art and ultimately, support themselves as artists.
The works themselves ranged from the stunningly captivating to the mediocre. Erina Tamrakar's luminous works of a woman holding a child were sensuous and romantic. She is a genius with colour and her works evoke an immediate sympathetic response from the viewer. She works without planning her compositions or her colour scheme-one can tell that one is looking at a work that comes impulsively as a result of a deep and immediate response to her subject. Another artist whose work was entrancing is Asha Dongol, whose works consist of figures fleshed out with bold slashing lines and dashing colours.
But more than the painters themselves it is the idea behind such an exhibition that is so compelling. We live in a world where art is constantly relegated to the background, and even people who love art only pursue it as a hobby or an interest. For once, a group of people have realised that art can help keep body and soul together and that there are people in this world who may yearn to pursue their love of art but can never find the means to do so. Members of the Jasutara Foundation say that for them, art is as important as medicine and mathematics, and they have taken the first crucial steps towards providing needy children with the opportunity to become artists. Perhaps our education system can learn something from this.