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Artists unite to fight against hunger
By our correspondent  29th May 2011

Tom Pietrasik captures Lucknow slum dwellers

n June 1, artists and musicians will come together for the launch of Oxfam's food justice campaign, Grow: Creative Expressions of Hunger, in an attempt to increase awareness about the plight of hunger and malnutrition plaguing the country. According to a 2003 UN report, India has around 217 million malnourished children, which is higher than the hunger statistics of our neighbouring countries like Bangladesh and most African countries.

The event will take place at India International Centre and will be simultaneously hosted in Rajasthan and Maharashtra and 20 countries like Morocco, Australia and the US. "We want more people to talk about and address the issue of hunger. So, instead of having the usual lectures about the issue, we thought about presenting the cause through popular mediums like songs," says filmmaker Meera Dewan, who curated the cultural programme for Grow.Image 2nd

Grow will begin with a special song created by Sandeep Srivastav and band which explores the horrors of hunger. Susmit Sen from the rock band Indian Ocean will also be performing with Sumangala Damodaran, a Delhi University teacher. They will be performing vintage Indian People's Theatre Association (IPTA) songs about the Tebhaga Movement and great famine of Bengal. We will also see folk singer Gafruddin Mewati from Rajasthan performing traditional songs about agriculture."My idea was to get a repertoire of artists from different fields to commit themselves to the campaign and make them take up the issue in their own ways," says Dewan.

An exhibition of photographs taken by international photographers like Sam Spickett, Ranjan Rahi and documentary photographer Tom Pietrasik will also be showcased at the event. These photographers were selected by Oxfam for the launch of the campaign. "Through this campaign we want to enhance India's food security so that everyone around the world has enough to eat," says Manish Sharma, one of the organisers of the campaign.

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