Our maiden Book Club session rolled out on 7th July at Modern School, Barakhamba where participants from Delhi’s leading schools ruminated upon and exchanged thoughts about Devi Prasad’s Art The Basis of Education. The basic premise on which Devi Prasad’s book is hinged is to break the fetters of the colonial system of education so as to empower the minds of our children. This liberating force according to him comes through the language of art. Art creates the enabling enviroment for the child to express the unsaid, the repressed, the uncharted. Participants discussed various aspects of the book which was facilitated by artist and educator Nidhi Khurana.
The book provides an opening to the spirit of true teaching. While underscoring the fact that there is not a pronounced methodology for child art in India, Devi Prasad provides an interesting entry point into the the realm of art education through his ‘experimental’ stance. The participants engaged in a lively discussion around the ideas and thoughts propagated by the author. It was unanimously agreed as per the book that teachers blurring the ‘mistakes’ in a work of art made by a child, was equivalent to cringing the life of the work.
The participants exchanged views and perspectives shared in the book. An idea that struck out strongly to most of them was Devi Prasad’s belief, inspired from Tagore. In the practice of art, the element of poverty was essential in thrusting the ‘personal experience of the world’ onto the creative /imaginative mind of the child as opposed to expensive habits. It is very rightly stated by Devi Prasad that affluence draws the child away from nature, which most teachers endorsed in the discussion.