MAP THE TRAIL: a children’s workshop

An Art1st Foundation Workshop in collaboration with Bhubaneshwar Art Trail

The crossroads at the beginning of the Bindu Sagar Road instantly became our adda. We were there at 8am on the first day, ready to explore. Priyam found fascination in the life that buzzed on the road that led around the block and back to the sea green Kedarnath library. Likla was drawn to the solitude of the Uttareshwar temple courtyard that rested by the lake. And thus, left and right, the two paths were drawn.

 

The sessions began with a few quick activities that broke the ice and brought the children into the space. A clapping game involved their complete attention and an observation exercise prepared them for how to look for details in the journey they were about to undertake.

As the two groups began to walk, accompanied by an Art1st Facilitator, a Bhubaneswar Art Trail Volunteer and a schoolteacher. Though the sun beat down on our heads, each participant was engrossed. With a pencil in hand they sketched or wrote down what caught their attention on the trail. For some of the children it was the temple structures, for others it was the familiarity of names, others yet were drawn to the landmarks and one girl was drawn to the trees that claimed homes along the trails. When we approached the paintings of Subrat Kumar Behera in juxtaposition with the age-old temple structures, there were wows all around.

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Upon returning to the workshop area, the young cartographers were presented with an array of art material: oil pastels, sketch pens, poster paints, markers, clay, colorful strings, tinted sheets and cartridge paper. They were free to make use of any of these to represent their experience on the trail. A few of the children wanted everything while others were selectively aware of what they wanted to use.

When they sat down to create they were posed with yet another challenge. They couldn’t use some of the conventional approaches to starting an art piece, so, no border, no marker outlines, no erasers and no rulers. Confusion abounded, but only momentarily. They revaluated and quickly got to work. It is remarkable how each one knew exactly what they wanted to create without worrying too much about what their friends were making.

Their artwork is now on display at Guajhar on the Bhubaneshwar Art Trail. Can you make out which route they took?

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Art Workshop with Hearing Impaired children at AURED, Mumbai

A long awaited day had finally arrived – a workshop with Hearing Impaired Children at AURED, Mumbai.

The children were lot excited seeing so many paints and a huge paper surface to paint on. Each children were given Tennis Ball and bowl of paints. They had to dip the ball in paint and bounce it on paper

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Each children were sceptical towards the start but started enjoying later. It was interesting to observe them picking up ball, dipping it in paint and let the ball bounce on paper without worrying about their hands and clothes. Communication and instruction step by step was very important with these children. Each child tried dipping in different colour balls and creating the uneven mark on paper.

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After lot of rounds then the children were explained about rolling the ball on surface. Children started rolling the balls and passing to their friends on the opposite sides.

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Lot of children enjoyed rolling and some bouncing. Children continued this till the whole paper was filled with colours.

Then the children were taught to sprinkle, and everyone did that on paper.

The children were asked to form a circle around the paper, asked which were the different techniques they learnt – bouncing, rolling and sprinkling. Each children were asked to say the name with action. Everyone did it well.

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Which is your favourite colour on this paper ? Each child said the name and identified it on paper.

A book ‘ Colour Puzzles’ was shown where each children were asked to identify colours. Each children could identify it well.

An interesting story on colour from the book ‘ The Colour Thief ’ by Gabriel Alborozo was read to all.

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The most interesting things we saw was that the older children were taking care of the younger by helping them to understand how to do, cleaning their hands to removing apron.

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-Priyam Mehta, Artist Mentor, Education

Artist Mentor Avishek Sen..

On a chilly 13th January 2017 evening , our session began with Artist Mentor Abishek Sen.

Avishek Sen’s art practice encompasses the disciplines of drawing, painting, collage and installation. His work, over the years, has traversed the realms of very personal experiences and intimate environs as well as some contemporary socio-political domains.

He is fascinated with watercolor as medium, owing to its lyrical effect and particularly because of the accidents that happen with this medium.

Avishek was half an hour early for the season, and prepared the table for our participants. One could easly percieve his sincere approach towards his practice.

When all the participants came in we began the session with an introductory video on our Mentor. Post which there was an interactive session with our Mentor, where he talked about his practice and his experience with water colours as a medium.

He gave them all a piece of paper and took one for himself and every one bean painting in pin drop silence. Participants kept observing while Abishek was painting and adapting his techniques simultaneously. It was the first time when any mentor painted along with the participants.

No one was allowed to use an image as a reference point, they were to exercise their imagination and go with the flow.

Students were surprised with the outcome of there own works.

As the clock struck 7 it was time to wrap up. Our Mentor had painted something, which would be completed by the students i the upcoming sessions.

Artist Mentor: Mona Rai, Day 4

The last and final session with Mona Rai began at 3 pm on 27th November.

All the participants reached on time and continued their work, which they were doing in the previous session.

 

Our mentor kept a close eye on each one of them, and the moment a few said they were done!!!! Mona asked them to work over again and try to deform the image.

On sensing a subtle reluctance, in doing so, by the participants, our Mentor indulged the participants in a discussion on, having the urge to work on issues.

A thought-provoking discussion that  began with addressing the major difference between an advertising poster and a painting. The discussion continued for nearly half an hour, that left the participants thinking.

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We are sure that the participants and the Mentor Mona Rai enjoyed the experience…..

 

 

 

Artist Mentor: Mona Rai, Day 3….

The third session with Artist Mentor Mona Rai began at 3pm on 26th November.

Despite the heavy traffic everyone reached on time.

The sessoin began with the discussion about the artists that each of them were asked to look up. Post the discussion all of them took out the Materials they had collected and began working on their works.

The materials they used ranged from threads, cloth, cardboards to found objects.

All of them worked on ideas that interested them, some worked on social issues, where as others indulged in surrealist landscapes. Some tried their hands on embroidery for the first time.

By 7pm it was time to go.

They were supposed to complete their works in the next session.

 

Meet the Master – Series 1

Art1st’s Meet the Master is a series of workshop that opens new possibilities of learning and discovery !

This five workshop series will be based on the curated art shows at Tarq from October 2016 to April 2017. Conceptualized by Art1st, these workshop will expose the children to contemporary art practice by active participation and observation.

 

November 2016,Day 2

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All of us look outside our windows, but how many of us observe?????

Do we feel the changes in light with the seasons?

Do we observe the changing textures of the trees and the land?

Most of us click a picture to savour the moment, hoping to enjoy it later, rather than pausing for a moment and observing it then and there……..

Our mentor Mona felt that the children need to learn how to observe more keenly, through   their eyes rather than their smart phones, they need to learn to pause and grasp things.

On November 13th by 2:30 when all the participants had come in the, they were just asked to stand in the studio Balcony and observe the landscape….. the texture of the trees, the colours, the ground etc.

 

Our Mentor Mona stood with them and hinted at the ways they could look at the different textures and colours. After that they were left to their own, to sketch.

Mona asked them to use only three colours in their work, and they were also allowed to use several spices for colours and textures.

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The work that they were to do on 13th was meant to be a preparatory sketch ….

All of them quickly began their work….

 

Unlike the other days one could see a disinterest in their works. Only after much coaxing did they divulge that they did not like working on landscapes much , this revelation lead to many more discussions about their interests and reading habits.

At the end our mentor suggested names of artist that each one of them had to look up and come, for the next session.

Looking forward to see, what challenges our Mentor has for them , in the next session…..

Partner a Master: Mona Rai… Day 1

The space of painting is often thought to be one of quiet contemplation, of refuge, seclusion and withdrawal from the world. For Mona Rai it is exactly the opposite: it is a space for experimentation and risk – taking, where danger can be courted and limits exceeded.

For Mona painting is a space, which allows things that are excluded from daily life to happen with passion, rigor and even rage. Her looming, square works epitomize her artistic attitude. Textures fascinate Mona Rai; dots, dashes, slashes, directional strokes and streaks create her particular style.

Mona fearlessly uses a verity of textures, materials and techniques in her works, and this is what she wants the children to explore through this workshop.

The first session of Partner a Master with Artist Mentor : Mona Rai began on 12th November at 2:30 pm.

The session commenced with an introduction to Mona and her works, the Participants were shown a short video produced by “Art1st” on the artist. The screening of the video was followed by few discussions and questions on Mona’s practice.

 

Our mentor also asked the participants about the curriculum they follow in their schools, and then asked them to choose various materials like: Bindi, Buttons, Canvas, Cloth etc. and make anything of their choice.

This exercise was meant to get a better understanding of the participants.

All the students were quick at making their material choices, and began working on their works immediately as they were to finish their works within 2 hours…..

The influence of the previous workshops was evident in their works….

They quickly began drawing….. but were taken aback as our Mentor strictly prohibited the use of pencils and pens!!!!!!!!!

Mona wanted them to engage with the materials directly and fearlessly……

While a few worked with the on going issue of Smog, most of them made faces and eyes and had a concept behind the works……

They were asked to stop as soon as the time limit was over, one could see them hurry and put some last minute strokes, seconds before the discussion…..

During the discussion Mona left them with a question…..

Why should there always be a concept behind their work?

Can they not do a work only for the sheer joy of exploration and creation?

Well that was a lot of food for thought for one day!!!!!!!!

 

 

23rd October, Day 2…

The Golden Mean: The state of In-Between

 

In Ancient Greek Philosophy, especially that of Aristotle, the Golden mean is the desirable middle between two extremes, one of excess and the other of deficiency.

For example, in the Aristotelian view, Courage is a virtue, but if taken to excess would manifest as recklessness, and, in deficiency, cowardice.

Gautam Buddha taught of the middle way, a path between the extremes of religious asceticism and worldly self-indulgence.

Confucious taught excess is similar to deficiency. A way of living in the mean is the way of life.

Our Histories and cultures have always talked about the state of in-between, and this is what the students explored though their art works, while working with our Mentor Sumedh Rajendran.

The second day of our workshop began at 10:30 am on 23rd October 2016. Everyone quickly resumed their works that they had started in the previous session.

 

The participants were required to cut and paste their works on three sheets of corrugated paper, in order to make the drawings free-standing.

Cutting and pasting sounded a bit too easy than it actually was. Our Mentor was constantly guiding them through all the technical hurdles.

By 4 pm everyone was ready with their works, and now it was time for installation. Two pillars were prepared on which works were to be nailed. Some of the works were free standing.

 

By 5pm, the perfect balance was struck by each one of them, it was evident in their works.

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Sumedh Rajendran/October 2016. Day 1.

Partner a Master session with Artist Mentor: Sumedh Rajendran began on 14th October 2016. It was a Seven hour long session…………

The Session was scheduled at Sumedh Rajendran’s Sculpture studio in Greater Noida. All the participants pooled and reached the studio at 10:30 am. The studio was unlike the one they would have imagined.

Studio based in the industrial area of Greater Noida was a Bicycle factory, which later became the studio of the Sculptor Sumedh Rajendran. Amidst the tall trees and the faint industrial sounds in the backdrop, the studio stands tall with its high walls and a gabled roof top.

Students were welcomed by our Mentor. The studio seemed like a factory to the students at first, as it was a huge hall with sculptures all around the space. Sumedh arranged some chairs for the participants outside in the open.

Our mentor began with asking the participants,

What is Art for them?

What they understand by the term “Being creative”?

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After a 20 minute discussion, while talking about his own works Sumedh Asked them to, draw something taking inspiration form their surroundings.

They were to take under consideration the extremes that they have experienced and how as individuals they adapt to those extremes. They were asked to express the state of being in the “In-Between” of two extremes.

It took the participants a little while to grasp what he meant………

After much discussions and speculations each one of them came up with a visual and discussed with our mentor.

After their ideas were in place, huge corrugated sheets were spread out for them to draw on.

Our mentor wanted them to draw freely with no inhibitions, use of digital images as reference was not allowed, as they had to use their imagination and experiences.

Students worked with utmost freedom, and confidence.

 

After seven hour long sessions of thought provoking discussions, making life size drawings, soothing music and some snacks…… the day was called quits at 5pm.

We meet next Sunday for another sessoin to continue exploring the

spaces……In-Between……….. two extremes.

 

By

Gopa Trivedi/Artist Mentor