Artologue had its first Summer Session with school students in Gurgaon. After 7 months of coaxing by Uma Ramachandran, a visitor to Art Walle Log Exhibition at IHC, Artologue finally agreed to interact with students from a private school in Gurgaon.
The reason for agreeing to work with this school was that this a school based on a creative learning format instead of a rigid classroom-syllabus-exam format. Since Artologue is about acknowledging individual strength and interest, it was an interesting experience working with Indus World School students.
Indus World approached Artologue for a creative summer workshop focusing on the Indian ‘earthy’ arts in order to honor the corners of India. Their objective was to make children aware of different traditional vernacular arts of India that matched with Artologue’s larger aim of promoting creative ways of self-realization.
The workshop called “Earthy Arts of India” focusing on the traditional floor painting arts, began on the 16th May and ended on 27th May, 2016. The participants were a mix of quiet girls, vocal boys, enquiring younger ones and smiling teachers. Within 10 days there was no difference between any of us: we were like one joint family full of enquiring enthusiasts, ready to learn and hungry for new ideas, information and experiments.
“The first day was very boring”, wrote one of the students in his feedback/ letter to me on the last working day.
It was a theory class where we discussed who are tribes, forest tribes, hilly tribes, desert tribes and tried understanding terms like nomads, folk, rural and studied Indian geographical map, states and their boundaries. We also tried to explore the connection between geography and cultures of communities and their arts.
I could clearly see how difficult it was for them to sit and not paint on the first day of their art workshop. But the fun was to begin the next day when children brought different possible materials to be used as pigment or painting material. Some of them, mostly girls, brought vermillion, turmeric, rice powder and holi colors.
That day and the consecutive day we painted on paper and floor with indigo, vermillion, white clay, red soil, geru-mitti, turmeric, organic holi colours and turmeric & lime paste as another variant for red, using fingers, cottons and cotton tied on twigs used as brushes/pen.
As the day passed the temperature was nearing 50 degree celsius, the participants grew more and more inquisitive, experiments and discussions grew more intense. Hungry for new information and experiment everyday, it was challenging for Artologue to supply them with enough interesting options related to painting till the session ended.
With the first week ending we were all painting on t-shirts. A few of them had painted on t-shirt earlier but for most of them it was their first time. The excitement was difficult to contain but to decide on an interesting motif/ subject was even more difficult. Some with earlier experience worked with remarkable ease on the fabric while others complained for innumerable problems they were facing painting on a loose, stretchy surface. They had not used medium required for fabric painting before, they had little idea how to prevent the staining of back side of fabric, how to smoothen the wrinkle and how to make a smooth line on stretchy surface. None the less the whole experience for each of them was the most interesting part of the whole 10 day session.
Second week began with a fun laden visit to Craft Museum where children observed and recorded through drawings the best ever created and preserved specimens of wood and stone crafts, terracotta art, vernacular wall paintings, domestic arts of different states, textile weaving-designing and printing specimens along with artists performing/ demonstrating their arts and crafts. This readied the children to wield their creativity in the form of permanent floor paintings.
On the last few days all the three floors of the school became canvas for the children in which teachers joined in with equal zeal. Within three days the school was transformed into a living art room where every step, every corner, every pathway, every door way was painted with designed imagined and created by the school children, teachers, managers and helpers.
It was a delightful two weeks that Artologue would cherish for months to come.