Deccan Chronicle

Spreading joy through art

Deccan Chronicle| Gokul M G

Published on: August 8, 2020 | Updated on: August 8, 2020

Two schoolgirls in Chennai have taken an innovative plunge into helping young artists with a larger social goal in mind

Art has helped some youngsters overcome the confines of lockdown like Artjamila from Shah Alam, who has been creating works of art inspired by the battle against the Covid -19 (AFP)

Art has helped some youngsters overcome the confines of lockdown like Artjamila from Shah Alam, who has been creating works of art inspired by the battle against the Covid -19 (AFP)

‘Ilo by Vane’ is a not-for-profit organisation that works as a virtual platform for helping young artists showcase their work.

The initiative is the brainchild of two energetic 14-year-old girls, Vaishnavi and Neharika.

And they are not just helping artists to sell their work. The proceeds of the sales go to helping children suffering from cancer.

Asked what inspired them to start such a venture, they say they got the idea from an initiative by their seniors in school. "Once schools shut due to the pandemic, we were just sitting around and not really doing anything," says Neharika.

"Meanwhile, our seniors at school started an initiative called "Cease the Spread" and you could say that was our inspiration." Neharika says the two of them realised that most of their friends were artists, and so they decided to do something using art.

"We knew that a lot of money needed to be raised, but we didn’t want to just ask for donations. We felt it would be nice if people got something back for the donations they made, and art seemed like the right fit," chips in Vaishnavi.

‘Vane’ is a portmanteau of the first syllables of both their names - Vaishnavi and Neharika. "Ilo is Finnish for joy, and we came to choose it because I was looking at colleges in Finland to study in after school," shares Neha, the art face of Vane.

The duo says each piece of work is curated based on technique, creativity, detailing, originality and dimensions. Now they have 30 artists from schools across Chennai and one from Pune as well as one from faraway Shanghai.

The girls feel that provided they can work out the logistics of delivery, they can showcase art from all over the globe.

"The biggest challenge with curation is rejecting art. While the platform is all about promoting amateur talent, we also need to provide a certain standard of art for our customers. And this is a delicate task because a lot of the artists are our friends or children of people we know, and it is delicate to reject anyone. But we try to be as sincere as possible in our responses so that they understand the bigger picture," explains Vaish, the brain behind Vane.

Both girls are busy both with a handful of activities as well as academic sessions during the lockdown.

"School started pretty early for us, compared to the rest, and since we are both in the tenth (oooh), we have actually been pretty busy figuring out online classes, Vaish’s aikido, Neha's dance and then our regular chores at home – which are under scrutiny since our parents are always around. So in a way, we are quite happy to have an excuse to hang out and make a difference as well," they say with a smile.

The families of both girls are very proud of them, and their parents are enormously supportive.

The two have mapped out very different academic futures for themselves. "I want to do math and science and get into MIT and do some form of mechanical engineering, but that’s not going to be as easy as replying to this question. However, that is the plan." Says Vaish, giving her signature Thumbs up!

"I plan on studying art and design and while my parents may get some heartburn reading this, I’m quite sure that interior design is my true ilo." says Neha.  

Having had enough of answering questions, the bubbly girls rush off to attend to the next item on their agenda.

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