Press release

Discovering Ability: Celebrating Art Created by Persons with Disability

30/10/2019
, India

The first edition of the ‘Discovering Ability’ Art Awards will take place on Monday 4 November 2019 at the UNESCO Auditorium in New Delhi. Not Just Art, a start-up of Youth4Jobs Foundation, is partnering with the UNESCO New Delhi Office and HSBC for this inspiring event. The event will introduce ‘Discovering Ability’, a new platform for awarding works of visual art created by persons with disability.

The ‘Discovering Ability’ Art Awards aim to celebrate the artistic abilities of persons with disability, who have hitherto remained a largely unrecognized talent pool.

The Awards team received over 130 submissions from more than 15 states across India in a single month. A panel of three eminent judges from the Department of Fine Arts, Sarojini Naidu College of Arts and Communication, Hyderabad have reviewed the submissions and selected the seven winners. Each winner will receive a cash prize of Rs 50,000, a trophy and a certificate.

The awards will be presented by the Honourable Vice President of India, Shri M Venkaiah Naidu and the Honorable Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, Shri Thawar Chand Gehlot. The award-winning art works will be exhibited for three days at the UNESCO gallery, and the exhibition will be inaugurated by the Honourable Vice President of India. 

Also present will be Ms Meera Shenoy, Founder and CEO of Youth4Jobs and Not Just Art; Mr Eric Falt, Director and UNESCO Representative to Bhutan, India, Maldives and Sri Lanka; Mr Paul Raddon, Head of Operations, HSBC Global Service Centres; and Mr Adwaita Gadanayak, Director-General, National Gallery of Modern Art.

The Winners of the Art Awards are:

  • Amrit Khurana from Noida, Uttar Pradesh
  • Durgesh Kumar Rathore from Vadodara, Gujarat
  • Mallika Khaneja from Panchkula, Haryana
  • Mohammed Yasar from Palakkad, Kerala
  • Niral Hareshbhai Swati from Vadodara, Gujarat
  • Rohit Anand from Bengaluru, Karnataka
  • Y. Raghavendran from Chennai, Tamil Nadu

In addition, the jury identified 15 other artists whose work merited a special mention.

Not Just Art (NJA) is a startup of Youth4Jobs (Y4J), the largest foundation in the space of including persons with disabilities at the workplace. As Ms Meera Shenoy, Founder of Y4J and NJA said: ‘We wanted to put the spotlight on the unique talents of these artists who, despite their constraints have the incredible ability to use art to express their thoughts and feelings and life experiences. In the last seven years, Y4J has successfully trained and linked youth with disability to jobs across India at scale. We hope that our partnership with UNESCO and HSBC will help us make a similar impact in the space of art by persons with disabilities.’

‘Our aim is to have 3% of our workforce represented by people with disability by 2020, and Youth4Jobs are one of our strongest partners in this journey. They are our recruitment partner for not only helping us hire talented people with disability, but we also work closely with them to make our workplace accessible to them. A number of our colleagues volunteer with them to help people with disabilities improve their employability skills. ‘Discovering Ability’ is another step forward in our collaboration towards the inclusion of persons with disabilities at the workplace and in the communities in which we operate,’ said Mr Paul Raddon, Head of Operations, HSBC Global Service Centres.

Ahead of the Art Awards, Mr Eric Falt, Director, UNESCO New Delhi said: ‘Enabling the participation of persons with disabilities in artistic and cultural life is a key priority for UNESCO. Our collaboration with Youth4Jobs and HSBC to launch the ‘Discovering Ability’ Art Awards builds on our portfolio of disability-focused interventions in India. This includes partnerships with leading cultural institutions to build accessible art galleries; using film to advocate for disability rights; promoting inclusive education for children with disabilities; and helping make libraries and archives disability-friendly. ‘Discovering Ability’ is an important initiative, and signals our commitment to empower persons with disabilities to become both mainstream consumers and producers of art forms.’

ABOUT THE PARTNERS

About Youth4Jobs Foundation

Youth4Jobs (www.youth4jobs.org) works in the challenging but high impact space of mainstreaming youth with disability in corporate / public sectors in India. The work is inspired by the mantra “That hiring youth with disability makes business sense.” In the last 7 years it has emerged as the largest organization in this space. It has touched over 315,000 rural households in advocacy. It has a presence in 32 locations in 17 states across India. Companies prefer Youth4Jobs as it has a pipeline of less educated and educated youth with disability and offers a range of services that ensures that the youth hired helps the business Youth4Jobs also brings out industry studies with partners like BCG etc. The work has received prestigious national and international awards. The vision is hands-on grassroots transformation of persons with disability at a country level and emerging as a thought leader at a global level.

About UNESCO

UNESCO (https://en.unesco.org/) is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. It seeks to build peace through international cooperation in education, the sciences, culture and communication. UNESCO's programmes contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals defined in Agenda 2030. The UNESCO New Delhi Office was established in 1948, and is today a platform for the delivery of activities in all areas of UNESCO’s competence. UNESCO New Delhi is mandated to cover six countries of South Asia – Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Promoting the rights of persons with disabilities (PWDs) is a priority for UNESCO; and in India, UNESCO’s work has included the promotion of inclusive education for children with disabilities; efforts to make cultural spaces accessible; and support for the participation of PWDs in the performing arts. UNESCO also promotes the development and use of inclusive ICTs and assistive technologies, and helps build disability-friendly digital libraries and information systems in order to ensure access to knowledge.

About HSBC India

The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited in India offers a full range of banking and financial services through 26 branches across 14 cities. HSBC is one of India's leading financial services groups, with over 36,000 employees in its banking, investment banking and capital markets, asset management, insurance, software development and global resourcing operations in the country. It is a leading custodian in India. The Bank is at the forefront in arranging deals for Indian companies investing overseas and foreign investments into the country. HSBC Holdings plc, the parent company of the HSBC Group, is headquartered in London. The Group serves customers worldwide across 65 countries and territories in Europe, Asia, North and Latin America, and the Middle East and North Africa. With assets of US$2,751bn at 30 June 2019, HSBC is one of the world's largest banking and financial services organisations.

Ahead of the Art Awards, Mr Eric Falt, Director, UNESCO New Delhi said: ‘Enabling the participation of persons with disabilities in artistic and cultural life is a key priority for UNESCO. Our collaboration with Youth4Jobs and HSBC to launch the ‘Discovering Ability’ Art Awards builds on our portfolio of disability-focused interventions in India. This includes partnerships with leading cultural institutions to build accessible art galleries; using film to advocate for disability rights; promoting inclusive education for children with disabilities; and helping make libraries and archives disability-friendly. ‘Discovering Ability’ is an important initiative, and signals our commitment to empower persons with disabilities to become both mainstream consumers and producers of art forms.’