Hindu Students Council (HSC) will be launching its first Online Benefit Arts Competition, called Hindu Dharma through the Arts (HDA 2020), on July 1, 2020. This initiative is a way to encourage creativity and engagement with Hindu identity, aims to provide a platform for artistic expression, and creates an innovative avenue to donate money for COVID-19 response efforts.
This year’s competition theme is storytelling. All art submissions must either tell a story of how the participant has grappled with and embraced his/her/their identity as a Hindu or a story from Hindu texts, oral traditions, Itihasas, Panchatantra, etc.
Kiran Rajkumar, President of the HSC chapter at the University of South Florida (USF) and Co-Organizer of HDA, remarked: “During these trying times, many of us have turned to art as an outlet for creative expression and therapeutic release. Personally, I find relief in painting and classical dancing, and I know many others feel the same. I figured an arts showcase could unite members of the Hindu community through a common theme.” Speaking on the competition, she added that “the main goal of this project is to showcase talents of individuals in the community and learn how their Hindu identity has shaped their artwork while contributing to COVID-19 relief efforts.”
Money raised by HDA will be donated to Sewa International USA’s COVID-19 Fund, which will be used to support individuals and families in the United States. Sewa International has been running COVID-19 helplines in the United States since late February, has distributed more than 625,000 masks, 63,000 hot meals and food kits, and has donated more than $100,000 to food pantries.
Applicants of any age can apply in a variety of art categories; Dance, Music, Visual Arts, Photography/Film/Drama, Writing, and Cooking. Participants may submit in as many categories as they would like with a maximum of 2 entries per category. The deadline for submission is July 31st at 11:59 PM EST.
Sharing her thoughts on why she got involved, Divya Kaushal, the vice president of HSC USF Chapter and a Co-Organizer of HDA added: “The pandemic has affected everyone. My friends and I have turned to learn more about Hindu Dharma and connecting with our Hindu identity by reading, painting, and cooking dishes that portray a story. Kiran and I wanted to create an art fundraiser that would help to support those who have been impacted by the pandemic, not just at the University of South Florida, but nationally.”
The finalists’ art will be posted on the HSC website, and there will be prizes awarded in each category. A panel of judges will review the artwork based on originality, creativity, ability to convey meaning, authenticity to the Hindu story, and execution. After the submission deadline, all artwork will be posted online, and patrons will be encouraged to donate money to support their favorite artwork. There will be a prize for the artwork that raises the most money.
Founded in 1990, Hindu Students Council is North America’s largest pan-Hindu youth organization. HSC is a 501(c)3 non-profit providing a safe space for Hindus on campuses all over, and is a platform for young Hindu leaders to learn, grow and engage in advocacy, empowerment and seva. Over 200,000 students of various backgrounds have attended HSC’s programs since its founding.
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