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ICCR to promote India’s heritage online in ‘soft diplomacy’ amid global Covid-19 lockdown

The ICCR is moving its classes online through which people can learn classical dance, music, painting, yoga, and even participate in a global competition.

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New Delhi: To boost the morale of artists amid a lockdown spanning countries, India will continue to promote its cultural heritage through its premium cultural body, the Indian Council For Cultural Relations (ICCR), that will now conduct classes online.

People will be able to choose from a range of classes on classical dance (such as Kathak, Bharatnatyam, etc), music, painting, and even yoga.

“This is about soft diplomacy. Hence, the ICCR has now decided to go online. All our cultural centres across the world have shut down due to the Covid-19 outbreak and lockdowns around the world. But the show must go on. So we will now be coming out with online classes and modules,” Dinesh K. Patnaik, director general, ICCR told ThePrint.

Also read: In coronavirus lockdown, add the arts to essential services list

Learn the arts virtually

Patnaik said the ICCR has now roped in all music and dance teachers, yoga practitioners, tabla artists, painters and other artists from around the world who will be conducting real-time classes over Skype and other such web-conferencing platforms.

“Some of the teachers have also sent their training modules to their students through ICCR, which the students will be practising at home. They will also be given assignments so that they do not go out of touch with their respective art forms,” Patnaik added.

The ICCR has cultural centres across Europe, US, China, Bangladesh, Mauritius, Guyana, South Africa, the Netherlands, Russia, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan, among others.


“We always wanted to go online to reach a larger audience online than a handful that comes in the cultural centres. Thus, we are turning this lockdown into an opportunity for artists to make the most of it,” Patnaik said.

Also read: Why Singapore isn’t in a coronavirus lockdown — as told by a doctor of the country

ICCR to host world art contest on Covid-19

The ICCR will also soon be launching a worldwide art competition that will focus on the emotional toll the prolonged lockdown is having on people worldwide.

“The objective is to bring out the best in people as they face isolation, maintain social distancing and follow a lockdown. People are now going through various forms of emotion, be it happiness, depression, sorrow, anger etc. They need to just put their emotion into the canvas,” Patnaik said.

Submissions can be done in paintings, sketches or digital art. Once a jury decides on the inners, the best entries will be showcased in an online exhibition.

The ICCR also intends to host exhibition globally, once the lockdown eases, which will include the artworks from the competition.

Also read: What experts from China, US, Lebanon told me about COVID-19 impact on mental health


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