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Brush of Hope: A beacon of strength and inspiration

BUY-SELL | HELP WANTED | MATRIMONIAL

New Delhi, April 1 (IANSlife) A vital movement against cyberbullying that aims to ignite a crucial conversation and empower victims, ‘Brush of Hope’, a powerful art exhibition, is to take place on April 6 to 20 at The Designera Art Gallery, in Mumbai. The event curated by Dr. Sheetal Gagrani in collaboration with the Maharashtra Cyber Crime Branch and The Designera Art Gallery will showcase compelling art pieces that explore themes of resilience, empathy, and overcoming adversity.In a world consumed by the digital landscape, a silent epidemic rages on – one of cyberbullying and cyberstalking. The National Crime Records Bureau has reported a 36% surge in cyberstalking and cyberbullying cases following the pandemic. Unfortunately today, India stands as a leader in this crisis, with a staggering 85% of children reporting cyberbullying experiences. Furthermore, a recent UNICEF study highlighted that victims don’t report cyberbullying, due to fear of retaliation, embarrassment, or social stigma. These numbers and facts paint a grim picture of a growing problem with overwhelming consequences.Talking about cybercrime in the country, Yashavi Yadav (IPS), Special IGP Maharashtra Cyber Department said, “The rise of cybercrime is the numero-uno organized crime syndicate in India fueled by the widespread use of smartphones and social media, particularly at the hands of vulnerable groups like children, college students and senior citizens. Online cyber frauds, cyber-stalking, child pornography, and social engineering are some of the methods employed by cybercriminals to traumatize the young generation, especially females.”Cyberbullying can have devastating repercussions on young minds, resulting in low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and in severe cases, even suicide. Victims of cyberbullying often stay silent, feeling alone, hopeless, and powerless. This silence is compounded by a lack of clarity on legal procedures. ‘Brush of Hope’ seeks to break the silence surrounding cyberbullying. As the exhibition will shed light on the vulnerability of individuals, particularly women, on social media, it will also underscore the critical and urgent need for accessible support systems and resources for victims.Featuring a diverse range of artistic perspectives around cyberbullying, the exhibition will present works of rising artists Hitesh Gilder, Vijay Shinde, Amara De Tori, Sarvesh Chavan, Mukesh Chaudhary, Khushi Gursale, Dhanashree Manjare, Pratish Panchal, and Shreyash Kalambate together with art created from Swara’s diary entries that silently cry for help. The two-week exhibition will honour the memory of Swara, a young woman who tragically lost her life to cyberbullying. Most notably, the exhibition will carry a collection of Swara’s art pieces. Dr. Sheetal Gagrani, Swara’s aunt and driving force behind the cause, emphasizes the urgency of addressing this issue. “We are facing a cyberbullying pandemic, where bullies relentlessly torment their targets 24/7. Most victims believe that anti-cyberbullying efforts are ineffective and they have nobody to turn to,” says Dr. Gagrani. She adds, “We believe that art can inspire change and provoke important conversations. By showcasing the stories of cybercrime victims like Swara, we hope to foster empathy and understanding, while advocating for better support systems for those affected by online harassment. With the unwavering support of Gayatri Oberoi, Minu Deora, and Rupal Kanakia, we are committed to championing this cause and ensuring that the impact of ‘Brush of Hope’ reaches as many people as possible. We are also setting up a foundation to offer a protected platform for victims to reach out for help, as well as apprehend the essential conversation around cyberbullying and its consequences.” Amrita Deora, founder of Designera Art Gallery, believes the exhibition’s art will spark meaningful dialogue. “I’m honoured to be part of this initiative in association with the Cyber Crime Branch and Dr. Gagrani. Through the power of art, we are trying to encourage everyone to fight back against such crimes and help dismantle the stigma associated with being bullied or stalked. Parents, educators, and guardians, all need to create a secure environment for their children to openly communicate and seek support in situations like these. I would like to urge as many people as possible to join us at ‘Brush of Hope’ as we honour Swara and all cybercrime victims, and take this crucial first step towards a safer digital tomorrow.” she said.‘Brush of Hope’ is a powerful message of solidarity for victims. While Dr. Gagrani is in the process of setting up a helpline/website for victims to seek immediate help; she also expressed hope that the exhibition will amplify the initiative’s larger message. IANSlife can be contacted at [email protected]–IANSlh/

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