Chaitya Dhanvi Shah: I hope the lockdown doesn’t impact our creativity

As the industry tackles the impact of Covid-19, PrintWeek asks Chaitya Dhanvi Shah, curator and managing director, Dhanvi Rasiklal Shah Arts Company, about the company’s approaches to business during the pandemic.

04 May 2020 | By PrintWeek Team

Chaitya Dhanvi Shah

What has been the impact of Covid-19 on your business thus far?

Due to the Coronavirus, from manufacturing, distribution to sales, everything is shut down. Noticeably, the business has been affected badly. The serigraph market was gradually catching up. However, I am not worried more about the manufacturing or sales. My major concern is ‘creativity’. I hope the impact of lockdown, virus, and worry of economic depression doesn’t impact our mindset. Production and sales can be recovered but if the creativity is affected, I think, it will take a much longer time to come back in the business. I hope the creative sync of artists remains intact.

In the short term, how are you assessing the risks and planning for the possible impact?

Rather than reducing price or giving away these valuable screen-prints artworks at a discount, we would like to produce a good range of affordable art merchandise, which can fit in the wall art category. The idea is to reach more and more people rather than discounting these serigraphs, which are impossible to recreate in numbers and quality.

Some businesses have acted, asking staff to work from home, doing daily temperature checks, distributing critical tasks across offices, and restricting travel. What steps have you undertaken?

We are planning to do the same once we start functioning. As of now, our focus for the team is to let them work from home. Only when the external environment is under control, we want to function, that too with minimal workforce and proper social distancing norms. We are planning to regularly check the temperature of each team member and the customer that enters the premises. Only after satisfactory results, they will be allowed to enter the workspace or display area.

How is your company staying in touch with your partners / customers?

We are staying in touch with them mainly through social media and emails. We are trying to reach them through positive campaigns infusing art and artists to overcome such depressing times.

Confluence of creativity and technology will be the key to crafting a successful future in print. One creative print project which can make a difference you?

I think producing consumer-utility products with the fusion of Indian art produced through AI. We are already in the second phase of research and development. I think this will be the next big change.

One suggestion for the government?

I think the government should help us to move beyond boundaries. We have to reach out to the world. We need print and packaging focused events like ‘Vibrant Gujarat’ at a global level. The government and printers should together conduct such events to specific target countries and involve small printers who otherwise find it difficult to book an expensive space in events like Drupa, irrespective of how fine quality they offer to the market.

The government should create policies and infrastructure where smaller printers too can export and stand together in a global competitive market. The printers are ready to do it. But the key remains with the government though. I think it should have a mindset where it decides that India’s printers should be producers for the world. We should not limit ourselves to a society that mostly consumes and trades. I think our moving out to the world is the need of the hour and the future, if we want to see sustainable growth and expansion of the Indian printing industry.