#1 Art1st at Compound 13 Lab, Dharavi: An Introduction

The sound of the drums was audible from a distance while we walked towards Compound 13 Lab. The kids were already in their routine of drumming and jamming before we arrived.

Art1st Foundation works with children and organisations from diverse backgrounds. This year marks a new beginning with Acorn Foundation’s Dharavi Project and the Compound 13 Lab. And, if you haven’t figured it out already, we’re conducting an art programme with the young drummers of Dharavi Rocks!

We began with a very important question: What are we here for?
One boy named Divakar raises his hand up very confidently and says “कला” (Kala).
He said that everyone has some form of ‘Kala’ within them, and we are here to explore this

We wanted to get to know them better, so we asked them to tell us about their interests through movements. As they acted, the group began to guess: Abhishek likes to rap, Divakar enjoys washing vessels, Chandan loves to repair anything, Ramzan loves to win and Pravin is a photographer.

Next, we initiated a fun but effective art activity as inspired by Hervé Tullet’s Field of Flowers. Moving, painting, running, exploring, together we turned simple dots into a colourful field. When the chaos and excitement of creating calmed, we stood in a circle. ‘I see… a rainforest… people playing Holi… colourful laddoos!’ It was clear that we were amidst a bunch of creative and passionate young people. They were overjoyed to learn how stories come alive from a single piece of art.


As our first session reached its conclusion, we were excited (though hot and sweaty) to see them again, looking forward to where their imagination will take us next.


Notes from Compound 13 Lab
By the Art1st Team
Priyam Mehta, Artist Mentor and Nisha Vaghani, Intern at Art1st


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