By Jeetendra Ajmera
Awaaz Studio is a Jaipur-Delhi(India) based art furtherance house on a mission to promote local art globally. A local, independent, and open artist collective, the community is a sustainable art platform where local artists inspire, ideate, and collaborate with each other to create, live, consume art with an underlying belief that, “Art has value, art deserves value, art creates value;”
College life had been a cultural shock to Ankush Nagpal eventually leading him to find his solace in poetry. He began with self-publishing his first anthology, Shadow of thoughts- a collection of 35 poems during his freshman year at college.
December 2014, almost a year after his first year of college, his life took a strange turn. “One fine day, I was fetching a bottle of water from a friend's room to mine. It slipped from my hand once. Picked it up, within a few seconds, it fell again. I had walked just a few meters and it fell 5 times. I didn't know what was happening.” It was a major epilepsy seizure.
His entire life had changed within a day’s time and he came back to live with his parents. Few months in the city, he realised that he wanted to build something to bring the change in the local art scene in the city.
After a year-long quest to establish his idea, it was in January 2016 that Awaaz Studio was born with the intention to make it a community and platform for local artists.
Following is an excerpt from the conversation I had with Nagpal.
“Why this name? What can one understand by the term ‘Awaaz Studio’?”
“Well, Awaaz in Hindi means voice. I wanted to create a place synonymous to a medium which knows no biases to propagate. Studio made significance for a place to experiment and experience art.”
“What do you mean by local art?"
“Local art, as the name suggests is the idea that art is not restricted to any age, class, religion, cities, countries. Local art is a concept, it is a belief that every person in every part of the world has the potential to pursue art, and we want to empower them in doing so.”
The community since then has been fighting to promote and celebrate local art. Art, though a defining field in the history of humanity still finds a lot of resistance from society when it comes to pursuing it as a full-time profession.
The community believes that despite art being a billion-dollar industry and a global way to express, resist, celebrate, there is a lot to be done when it comes to making people aware and equip about the same in India. They further believe that a sustainable change can only be brought when the roots are changed from the local level and communities are empowered in the process. Currently, Awaaz Studio has evolved into a ladder kind of structure pervasive to an artist’s growth.
"We have our monthly community meetups which are open to everyone which help us propel our narrative every month, bring us new talents, and art lovers. Following these meetups, community conduct workshops of different art forms like Theatre, Visual art, Storytelling, Poetry, Spoken Word, Writing, Songwriting, Instrumental, art appreciation among others." added Nagpal.
The community believes that these workshops help the growing artist with the required knowledge and relevant exposure for their craft. Following these workshops, the community upholds monthly, bi-monthly, and annual events where local artists get the chance to perform and earn with other global artists facilitating stage sharing, "which is very essential to help them build confidence and provide them with a constructive critique,'' says Nagpal.
This further progress to more events, varying in scale, audience, exposure. The community also promotes collaborative art which acts as a catalyst for their purpose, as these collaborative acts, in turn, inspire others to join the community, hence creating an ever-growing community of artists.
Following these models, the organization has grown ever since. Having hosted over 250+ artists from 8+ countries in 35+ genres, the community has spread across 12+ cities, has partnered with organisations like TEDxJaipur, National Geographic(Out of Eden Walk), OYO rooms, has done over 50 events/workshops and hosted over 15,000 audience members with a total combined outreach of over 2 million online/offline engagement.
The community has also targeted various social issues through their events including raising awareness for Parkinson's disorder (theatrical can be found here) workshops on the prevention of Sexual abuse (in partnership with Mukhta Foundation), Women Empowerment, Mental well being, and eradication of Domestic Violence. The community feels that as an artist collective it is their job to question ideals, beliefs, customs through creative ways and educate them to take action, whenever required. In February 2019, this community did a multicity tour with a poet Bappaditya Sarkar and a singer-songwriter Mohammad Muneem to question violence, intolerance, radicalism, and terrorism prevailing in the society.
Today, with a stronghold onto their roots, the community envisions to create a world-class platform for multi-disciplinary art forms in India & abroad; all done keeping in mind the mission to promote and celebrate local art. The community, on several occasions in the past, has also partnered with various domestic as well as global organizations including, including others.
Any message to budding artists?
Consume more art. Read more, write more, listen more. Last but not least, never express what you don’t believe.
Reach out to the community:
28 Oct, 2018
June 15, 2018