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Lifestyle Books and Art 11 Feb 2019 A space for empathy

A space for empathy

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | GAUTHAM S
Published Feb 11, 2019, 12:06 am IST
Updated Feb 11, 2019, 12:06 am IST
Kozhikode’s Mann Art Café is a source of inspiration for talented artists and differently-abled alike.
Mann Art Café
 Mann Art Café

Mann, in Hindi means mind. The Mann Art Café in Chalappuram, Kozhikode, is a space that caters to the mind of artists and intellectually challenged persons, whom the coordinators call clients.

A sister organisation of MHAT (Mental Health Action Trust), Mann offers space for artists to share their talent and thereby, helps crowdfund for the aid of their clients. Muhsina, a coordinator of Mann, says that the idea behind the café is to help the needy people to connect with society and to raise funds for their welfare.

 

“Mann is just seven months old and since  its inception, we have hosted several events to help the needy,” she says. On preferring the term ‘clients’, she says, “Mental well-being of a person is not possible without the help of good societal experiences. It’s no secret that mental health is not treated like physical health, but sometimes it’s difficult to understand how or why it affects persons. This disparity can take many shapes and forms. While MHAT takes care of finding the needy people and providing them with help, Mann focuses on offering space to artists and collecting donations for the needy. Though Mann’s events are public, we make sure that the clients get time to interact with the artists. Though our works are not aimed at profit, the public has been very kind towards us.”  

Mann hosts regular painting exhibitions apart from theatre and music shows under their project Rotary Urban Engagement Centre (R-CUE). They also conduct Talaash, a bimonthly event where artists perform. On Tuesday, sitar player Vinod Sankaran will feature in Talaash.  

“The MHAT is a not-for-profit organisation that provides free, comprehensive, community-based, volunteer-led, cost-effective mental health care to the poorest people of the localities they serve, including the wandering homeless mentally ill. It aims at providing long-term management of chronic mental disorders through a system of community-owned and managed care, supervised and run by MHAT. Their mission is to help people with mental illness access psychiatric care and treatment without stigma, prejudice, and economic barriers,” says Muhsina.   

Mann runs on donations and proceeds from sales of works. “In the past seven months, we could raise a decent amount with the cooperation of the artists, singers and theatre artists. The proceeds from the sale of art works would go towards the people in need. The public response so far has been good,” she adds.  

A mural painting exhibition by Rajani Raj is going on at the café till the sitarist takes over.

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