The London-based Bagri Foundation, founded in 1990 to help realise "unique, unexpected ideas that weave traditional Asian culture with contemporary thinking", has announced that it's offering five £1,000 digital commissions to Asian artists in response to Covid-19.
"We are constantly exploring new ways of assisting artistic projects, and we hope that these new commissions will be the first of many similar initiatives," says Chelsea Pettitt, head of arts at the Bagri Foundation. "As we enter a new world, which may look very different from the one we've always known, we invite those who can challenge our thinking and encourage others through unique and unexpected ideas."
Asian artists, writers, musicians, curators, filmmakers, researchers and academics are invited to apply to the scheme, named At Home in the World, by creating online works that will be presented across the Foundation's digital platforms across five categories. Visual Art, Film, Sound, Lectures & Courses (workshops, talks and courses delivered virtually and ideally participatory ) and the Written Word.
The project title is inspired by the Vietnamese philosopher and Buddhist Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh's's collection of autobiographical stories and mindfulness teachings of the same name. 'Embracing Hanh's's mindful approach, the online series has been designed for creatives from across Asia and the diaspora to share their own journeys of discovery, knowledge and ideas,' says the foundation.
Applications are encouraged from artists who've been adversely affected by Covid-19 and who have suffered cancellations of work as a result; though there are no direct brief guidelines. The Foundation says that instead, it encourages "a diversity of proposals that explore ways of thinking about survival, care and solidarity, offered from a place of hope." It adds: "The Foundation has a strong interest in traditional arts and culture of Asia and its influence on contemporary practices, and therefore would love to see proposals that embrace this". The scheme is primarily aimed at emerging artists. However, there's no age or geographical limits for applications—Asian artists refer to those "from all of Asia and its diaspora in its broadest sense. This includes Central Asia, East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East."
Alka Bagri, Bagri Foundation trustee, says: "I feel more than ever that art and culture are a key component of how we will get through this challenging period. At Home in the World is one way in which we hope to offer assistance and to release a wellspring of creativity that can be experienced digitally."
The deadline for submissions is April 17, 2020. Works will be assessed by a panel of judges, with the winners announced in May 2020. From June-August 2020 the public commissions will be released every two weeks and presented across all appropriate Bagri Foundation digital platforms.
Proposals can be submitted by single artists or artist collectives that meet the below criteria:
- Artists must be from an Asian country or Asian diaspora as per the Foundation's remit.
- Applicants must have experience conceiving and executing works or projects.
- The work submitted must not have already been exhibited publicly.
- The work must be able to be shared digitally.
- Proposals will only be accepted electronically. Materials sent by mail, in person, or by phone will not be considered.
- Artists should propose a project that they feel can be realised in return for the £1,000 honorarium. Also, the selected artists will be supported by the Bagri Foundation team in every aspect of marketing, audience building and engagement and mentorship.
- The Foundation will accept a maximum of two proposals per artist, regardless of the category. If someone submits more than two proposals – whether as an individual or as a part of a collective – it will only review the first two received. It is likely that only one per artist would be selected, however.
Interested artists are asked to submit a proposal via the application portal here. Artists will be asked to submit a CV if useful, a bio and answer a series of questions detailing their proposal and interest in bringing the online commission to fruition. The Foundation says it does not expect fully-fledged, finished works at this time.
Those looking for more information can contact [email protected].