Strengthening Art and Cultural Promotion for Social Engagement

Glocal Pvt. Ltd. organizes the monthly series of youth-focused discussion sessions known as Coca-Cola Presents Youth Dialogue. It is a platform where different people from different sectors share their experiences, challenges, and motivations.
Youth dialogue delivered fascinating sessions on a variety of topics like sport, environment, entertainment, business, culture, and tourism to develop skills for an ever-changing market. The speakers of the program include youth influencers, skillful people, entrepreneurs, politicians, and celebrities. The discussion series is one hour long and includes a live audience.
The Youth Dialogue 2.0 episode of Coca-Cola presents Youth Dialogue on the topic “Strengthening Art and Cultural Promotion for Social Engagement’” ends with a successful presence of students amidst an event held at the premises of Kathmandu Don Bosco College.

The dialogue had the presence of three distinguished panelists as the invitees of the Youth Dialogue and they were:

  1. Mr. Bikram KC, CSR & Stakeholder Manager, Bottlers Nepal (Terai) Limited
  2. Ms. Manisha Shah, Modern Mithila Artist.
  3. Mr. Sonu Kumar, Managing Director at Monastic School/College; President of Nepalese Young Entrepreneur Forum – Janakpur Chapter
Strengthening Art and Cultural Promotion for Social Engagement

Here is the gist of the discussion

In addressing the question about the promotion of art and culture and its role in social engagement among students, Mr. Sonu highlighted the crucial role of art in promoting mental peace and addressing various challenges faced by students today. In an era marked by stress and excessive smartphone usage, students often battle depression and loneliness, sometimes resorting to unhealthy coping mechanisms like substance abuse or excessive screen time. Art, Mr. Sonu believes, can be a transformative solution to these issues. Through creative expression, students can convey complex emotions and experiences, finding solace and mental peace in the process. He emphasizes, Art is a powerful tool for social engagement and well-being among youth. 

Ms. Manisha’s Unique Journey as a Contemporary Mithila Artist

Talking about being recognized as a modern Mithila artist, Ms. Manisha explains her unique approach to this traditional art form. In a landscape where many follow the same conventions, she chose to stand out by infusing Mithila art with additional elements while preserving its authenticity. Ms. Manisha describes herself as a modern Mithila artist who has successfully modernized the art without losing its original essence. Her journey began with a passion for painting, participating in school art competitions despite initial doubts from her parents about the viability of a career in the arts. Now, established and stable in her role as a Mithila artist, she takes pride in pursuing her artistic passion.

Ms. Manisha encourages students to pursue their interests rather than feeling compelled to follow conventional paths like science, management, or law. She advises them to explore opportunities beyond their localities if their preferred subjects aren’t available nearby, urging them to shape their future careers based on their passions and interests.

In response to the question about Coca-Cola’s integration of art and culture into branding and marketing strategies and its impact on social engagement, Mr. Bikram highlighted the company’s direct and indirect involvement in such initiatives. He pointed out the collaboration with organizations like Glocal, facilitating discussions on art to address students’ inquiries. Mr. Bikram emphasized the importance of preserving and sustaining art and culture by fostering coordination among people of diverse religious and caste backgrounds during various festivals. Furthermore, he mentioned campaigns organized in collaboration with communities to unite art, culture, and Coca-Cola branding, showcasing the company’s commitment to integrating these elements harmoniously.

Transformative Role of Art in Holistic Student Development within Educational Institutions

Asked about the impact of various programs and activities in educational institutions on the holistic development of students, Mr. Sonu highlighted the evolving role of art. In the past, art was considered an extra subject, but this perception has transformed. Mr. Sonu emphasized that schools now bear the responsibility of fostering the physical and mental development of students, with art playing a pivotal role in nurturing creative thinking. He stressed the need for incorporating artistic and creative methods into teaching, suggesting that it goes beyond traditional methods and can be extended to digital art. Mr. Sonu proposed that by engaging students in art from an early age, it could become an integral part of the curriculum, offering a holistic approach to education.

When asked about the career prospects for youths aspiring to pursue fine arts, Ms. Manisha highlighted the prevalent interest in art among many young individuals. However, she noted the lack of accessible platforms and educational institutions offering art courses in Janakpur, a city which is rich in art and culture. Ms. Manisha suggested that by prioritizing art in primary school curriculum, more youths could discover the potential scope in the field, enabling them to choose a career in art with better guidance and educational support.

When asked about Coca-Cola’s methods to promote art and culture, Mr. Bikram emphasized the company’s commitment to supporting the diverse cultures of different regions. He highlighted their use of images of cultural landmarks like Pashupatinath and Janakpur temples in advertising and printing, not only fostering cultural promotion within Nepal but also reaching a global audience as Coca-Cola operates in over 200 countries.

Role of Technology in Art and Cultural Education

In response to question about the role of technology in promoting art and culture in schools, Mr. Sonu highlighted the significance of digital art. He noted the familiarity of students with mobile phones and technology, citing platforms like NFT that enable artists to showcase and monetize their work globally. In the context of Janakpur, he emphasized the potential of digital platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube in promoting Mithila art globally. Mr. Sonu pointed out that students can learn various art forms, including Vector Art and Fine Art, through platforms like YouTube. He emphasized the abundance of digital opportunities that can lead to substantial income, underscoring the importance of cultivating a genuine interest in the arts. According to him, with interest as a driving factor, educational possibilities are limitless and can be pursued from any location in today’s digital age. 

When asked about the vibrant colors used in Mithila art and their symbolism, Ms. Manisha emphasized the eye-catching nature of these bright colors. As an artist, she highlighted the versatility of Mithila art as a medium to convey meaningful messages, addressing societal issues such as violence, social concerns, and sanitation programs. Ms. Manisha suggested that painting on walls can effectively create awareness, especially for those who may be illiterate and struggle with textual information. By utilizing a pictorial form, Mithila art becomes a powerful medium for spreading messages and raising awareness on various important issues in society.

Art, Culture, and Social Engagement

When addressing the challenges of promoting art and culture for social engagement, Mr. Bikram emphasized the crucial factor of interest, highlighting the necessity for individuals, especially the youth, to have a genuine interest in art. From Coca-Cola’s perspective, he highlighted their sensitivity to Nepal’s cultural diversity, actively supporting inclusivity. However, Mr. Bikram noted that the primary responsibility lies with the government’s initiatives. Additionally, he mentioned Coca-Cola’s commitment to promoting and maintaining art and culture through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) efforts, contributing to the broader goal of fostering social engagement..

When asked about collaborating with local artisans, cultural institutions, and community organizations to enhance students’ art and cultural experiences, Mr. Sonu described proactive measures. He shared that junior students visit the Janakpur Development Center of Mithila Art to immerse themselves in the creation of Mithila art. Mr. Sonu advocated for elevating art to a serious academic interaction, fostering students’ creativity. He suggested organizing art and cultural competitions during festivals and events to impart cultural values to students. As a member of Nepal Young Entrepreneur, he emphasized viewing art as a potential business, encouraging youths to consider it as a viable career option. Mr. Sonu stressed the importance of artists learning to monetize their work on various platforms to address concerns about the safety and sustainability of a career in the arts.

Vision for Empowering Artists and Enriching Art and Cultural Education

When asked about creative roles as an artist to preserve Mithila art, Ms. Manisha proposed several initiatives. She advocated for eliminating the need for moderators, enabling artists to directly sell their work to buyers. Ms. Manisha expressed her intention to contribute to the field of art in Janakpur, creating platforms for aspiring youths and addressing the local undervaluation of these arts. She emphasized the importance of owners of hotels and restaurants providing opportunities for artists, promoting genuine artworks over downloaded images from the internet. Ms. Manisha suggested the establishment of art galleries and institutions to facilitate art education and skill development among youth. In addition, she highlighted the broad spectrum of artistic learning, including not just fine art but also music and sculpture.

The panelists shed light on the multifaceted role of art and culture in today’s society. From leveraging technology to promote cultural diversity to advocating for the integration of art into education, these insights have emphasized the profound impact art can have on our lives.