The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on people's livelihoods. But for some, it has opened up new channels of earning money and fame. At least that is what seems to have happened to this Madhubani artist whose beautifully handpainted masks have become all the rage on social media.
Remant Kumar Mishra, a Madhubani artist from Bihar, was struggling to make ends meet due to the COVID-19 pandemic which has caused millions to lose their jobs and return to their hometowns. In keeping with the need of the hour, the award-winning artist decided to use his artistic talents to fashion face masks.
While the artist managed to churn out several beautiful cotton masks consisting of three layers of cloth with ornate and original handpainted designs, he had one problem. How to market the product to a wider audience?
This is very author and social worker Advaita Kala stepped in. Kala has been active in helping migrant workers and others who have been in need of food and other essential items due to lockdown. When she got to know about the talented artist's situation, she instantly put out a message on social media.
The artist also promised to deliver the masks, which he has priced at Rs 50 each, via courier anywhere across the country.
From a friend..Dear Friends ....A poor Madhubani painter in Bihar ....reached out for help ...he said that he can send these masks by courier ....each three layered cotton mask costs ₹50/-. He can be contacted at 9899429912 - Raman Kumar Mishra....🙏 Pls share & support pic.twitter.com/xZZyY9Ifkc— अद्वैता काला #StayHome 😷 (@AdvaitaKala) July 5, 2020
The tweet went viral and soon the artist seemed to be flooded with messages and phone calls. In fact, the artist became so busy with the orders that he seemed to not have time to answer any more phone calls! A Twitter user wrote to Kala saying, "The guy is not responding to messages and calls...How to order without communication?"
Mishra was prompt to respond. The artist claimed that he was unable to answer as he had been flooded with calls and orders already and that he would surely get back to each person in time. He also shared images of himself knee-deep in paintings and also added that he had attended at least 50 calls for masks since Kala's post.
Mishra, who now has a Twitter account and has been tweeting regular updates from it, shared a photo of himself surrounded by other workers, mostly women. He thanked netizens and Kala as well as others who had championed his cause or placed orders and added that their support had given livelihood to many people in his village.
बहुत बहुत धन्यवाद सर जी आप लोगो को प्रणाम करता हूँ हमें आप लोग की असीम कृपा से मेरे हाथ का बना मासक पेनिटग बिक गया है और हम अपने साथियों के साथ और बना रहा हूँ आपने मेरा मासक 650 पीस बिक गया pic.twitter.com/e2agWasGMx— Remant Kumar mishra Airtist (@remantkumarmish) July 5, 2020
The masks have gone viral on social media with many including former Bollywood actor Raveena Tandon taking to Twitter to share and praise the artists' work.
"These are beautiful! Ordering mine now!" Tandon wrote on Twitter.
Mishra is an award-winning Madhubani artist who has been awarded the state award for his works and has also been the recipient of the Centre for Cultural Resources and Training (CCRT) Scholarship for indigenous artists and craftspersons.