Now, the duo has come up with a project called Art to Heal that is initiated to focus on children, who have been confined indoors for several months during the COVID-19 pandemic, without access to schools. “After the lockdown, we did relief work for the fishing communities in coastal Tamil Nadu. While working with them, we thought why not do something for the children there. Children love colouring books and if we can provide a marine-themed book, it will help them reconnect with the ocean and keep the memory of the sea alive. Art to Heal is a colouring book that we have created in collaboration with 39 artists, who donated their marine-themed artwork to help children navigate these tough times. The line drawings in this fun, educational, colouring book are accompanied by bi-lingual English/Tamil text,” Chaitanya shares.
To kick off the project, the colouring book along with a set of colour pencils will be provided for free to children from fishing communities. “In the first phase, we will be distrusting the books to children (Class 1 to 5) from the fishing communities alone. With over 35 species found in Indian coastal waters, including whales, sharks, turtles, fish and many other forms of marine life, children can spend hours identifying our marine heritage. We hope that the book provides a window into the marine world.”
One of the contributing artists, Sitara Sajjad loves diving and it was easy for her to draw from her experiences. “When InSeason Fish called entries for the colouring book, I didn’t think twice. This is a good opportunity to educate children about marine conservation because if you get them to care about marine life then they will be keen to protect it. Since I dive, I get to see underwater life up close and it helped me to sketch,” shares Sitara.