#4 Art1st at Compound 13 Lab, Dharavi: Colour Exploration

There was excitement and a lot of chaotic chattering in the room. Once again, there were questions about the materials arranged in front of them.
‘What are we going to do today?’
We placed a bucket in the middle of the room.
‘Magic! Who would like to see some magic?’
Unsurprisingly, the class was abuzz with enthusiasm and liveliness.


The children were instructed to dip the paper in, let the paper soak in some water and then place it on the floor. Everyone did so turn by turn. Then it was time for some colors.

‘Dip your brush in Vermilion Red, and start moving it across the wet paper.’

They couldn’t resist the bright colour, and soon they were painting with their fingers. We moved on to Lemon Yellow. ‘We’re just playing,’ they commented upon the unseriousness of the activity. ‘Is that so? Why don’t you look closer?’ Honing in on their observation skills, they looked, and it wasn’t very hard to see… ‘Oh! That’s orange colour!’ Soon they were all busy playing and mixing.

‘Wait!’ we said, ‘Take a look at the paper.’ The sheets were on the verge of tearing! We asked them to sprinkle some water to prevent the paper from drying. Soon, they were back at their mesmerising experiments.

Do Cobalt Blue and Vermilion Red make Chocolate Brown, Purple or Violet? And what happens when you mix Lemon Yellow and Cobalt Blue? Smart Shahabuddin took a peek at the box of colours and began reading out the names from the bottles of acrylic.

Up next, we brought in a bunch of magazines. We asked them to flip through the pages seeking different colours, exploring tints and shades. Some inherently tore out big pieces of paper whilst others carefully tore out the small desired sections. ‘Are these primary or secondary?’ Soon the bowls were full of colours and the floor was filled with magazines; a beautiful and chaotic mess.

The class then began to paste the pieces on cartridge paper, with one rule to follow- there shouldn’t be any gaps in between. The class was enthralled by this beautiful colour palette that was starting to emerge. The observations started pouring in: a spaceship, clothes stacked at Dhobhi Ghat, multi-coloured flowers, patchwork stitched over torn clothes and a sky full of kites at Makar Sankranti.


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


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