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.


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




November 2016,Day 2




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.


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…..

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.


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”?


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.



Gopa Trivedi/Artist Mentor

5″X8″ Less can be More………..

The sessions with the Artist Mentor Puneet Kaushik concluded on 10th September 2016. It was a long journey for our students, to reach their goal of making a 5″X8″ work ,they have surely learnt how “Lesser and lesser can be More and More”

As everyone entered the studio, they  unfolded the canvases that they had been asked to paint on and fold the previous day.

The excitement was similar to tasting a cake that has been baked for hours.  All their canvases had been folded and kept all night long, and now it was time to see what was there.

One by one everyone opened their canvases and then sat to work a little on them. Within 20 min. almost everyone was done.

But knowing the mentor, all the students speculated there must be something more to it, but much to their surprise ,  Puneet said there was nothing more to be done on the canvas, as they were complete.

Hmmmmm Now! what does that mean?

Students worked for 10-12 hours on a work and then the mentor asked them to cut it, whereas this canvas was just 20min. of work….. and it was complete?

Looking at all the students faces it seemed our Mentor owed them an explanation. Instead , he asked them to first cut the previous work and finish that as well.

Once everyone was done, Puneet had a discussion with them and explained how it is important to know how, to edit once work. A work cannot be judged on the basis of the amount of time spent on it, instead one should look at the visual content. It is important to let go and learn to deduct all that is extra, in order to be precise.


Later he concluded the session by making them listen to a talk by Marina Abramović on art and artist.

We thank our Mentor for giving us his valuable time and hope these sessions were a great learning experience for our students.

Session 3: Learning is based on what changes and not what remains the same……….

As the clock struck 4 the students started trickling in, one after the other. By 4:15pm everyone was sitting in front of their respective works, thinking what more was needed in their works. While some didn’t like a few things they had done in the previous session, the others seemed content and were giving the finishing touches.

In the meantime, our Mentor Puneet  Kaushik  had been keenly watching their reactions to their works. He did not intervene unless called upon, as he did not wish to interrupt their thinking process.


As the session progressed there were several exchanges of ideas and suggestions between the mentor and the students. Students continued to meticulously work on their pieces , pondering over what to add more and what to remove…………………all this while our mentor kept a close watch on all of them while helping them “Finish” their work.

By 5pm when most had “Finished” their works, and seemed content with it, they turned to Puneet for his critique………But they were all astounded, by what Puneet had in store for them…………

After working for 10 long hours on a work, they were supposed to select a 5×8 inch rectangle out of their entire work, and cut it out!!!!!!!!!!!!



These revelations lead to many debates:

How can one destroy their own work?

Is cutting a piece, equivalent to destroying a work? Or editing a work?

Can they not make many works out of this one work?

What makes them say this is complete and that would be incomplete?????????


Likewise, the trail of questions and counter questions continued, the session gave the students a lot to ponder over, and they began looking at their works with a fresh perspective, through an 8×5 inch frame.


It would be interesting to see what will they come up with tomorrow?

Day 2…

The drill started sharp at 11 am, with students walking in with excitement…..

They knew they had to finish their un finished works…

They had been asked to cut a square piece out of the two works they had done and interchange them by sticking “what I am?” on to “what I am not?” and vice versa, which they immediately did.


And just when they thought the work was done………


Then the Mentor asked them to cut images out of the magazines that they had been asked to get, because, now, they had to use the cuttings to join the two separate works that the each child had done.

That meant there still was a long way to go, before the work could be deemed complete……….

Students spent 4 straight hours meticulously cutting, pasting, weaving, and stitching……….. Brainstorming over what they had to take what they did not.


Some of them finished their works baring one or two.

But those who think their work is almost done, they might need to think over ……… because, we never know what our Mentor has in stock for them for the next session??????



First session of Partner a Master 2016 commences…….

It was the  first day of our Partner a Master : Artist Mentor Program…….
The session was held at  our mentor Puneet Kaushik’s Studio.
Puneet Kaushik
Puneet Kaushik is a Delhi based artist. His works are  depictions of aesthetic and material cracks underlying the visible reality of urban life. They are abstract,  neo-expressionist, collages of kaleidoscopic materials and techniques – wire mesh, paint, sewing , embroidery, tufting , line drawings and organic dyes that bring to the surface  histories of tension that exist just beneath the  ordinariness of everyday lived humanity.  Through  his work, he captures the spirit of human fragility and the ability to transcend it.
Find out more about him by clicking on the link below:
True to his work and personality, Puneet’s studio in itself is a work of art.
There could be no better place than this for our first session.
The studio makes you feel as if you are walking amidst a life long installation…..where even a rag kept in a corner has a story to tell.
The session began with Puneet asking the children
What Art meant to them?
To which we heard a lot of interesting answers…. For some, it was about aesthetics, to another art means to be free, for some a personal expression……and so on.
Students seemed drained after a long day……….. yes, a long day indeed!
Anyone would be coming straight after giving an exam. But our mentor soon lightened them up with some refreshments and a presentation introducing the students to his works, students were very intrigued by the choice of his medium. One could see the  expressions change as the slides moved……
After the presentation, they moved on to doing some charcoal sketches, one defining what they are and the other what they are not…..
It was full of excitement as they all were asked to read each other’s work…. and they didn’t leave a chance to poke each other.
After the expert comments by the students, the mentor asked them to cut one square out of each work  and interchange them…….
The works are still under process, stay tuned to know more, tomorrow…

Partner a master Artist Mentor Program2016

Partner a Master: Artist-Mentor program is an initiative that explores the notions of Creativity as applied imagination for children in private and public schools. Conceived as an annual project by the Art1st Foundation in Mumbai Delhi and Bangalore, this entails introducing children to artist studios as spaces of imaginative learning, discovery and transformative thinking. Employing art as a pedagogical tool, this initiative emphasizes on visual literacy, collective learning and the role of the arts in cognitive processes and creative competencies. Contemporary artists and children work together on projects through workshops that open out processes of art-making through different mediums, methods and concepts. In such an interactive environment of learning, young children are able to understand that contemporary art is part of a cultural dialogue that concerns larger contextual frameworks such as personal and cultural identity, family, community, and nationality.

Each year we invite artists to mentor and engage with school kids in their studios. Young students between the age of 13 and 17, work alongside these artists on various art projects through the academic year. This immersive program, takes them through the world of contemporary art and the mentors help the students make their ideas visible.

The three pillars of this program are:

1. Artist Mentorship

2. Exhibition & seminar

3. Publication

Program Schedule

Each year we will invite a different set of artists and enrollments from other schools and NGOs; also students who participated in the preceding years are also encouraged to apply for this program. Students from NGOs will participate for free while others from private schools will enroll through registration fees.

Each artist dedicates 16-20 hours a month


4 sessions per artist, either on a Friday evening or Saturday morning. Duration: 4-6 hours per session



Avishek 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.

His recent series of paintings is rooted in deha tattva, i.e. the physical body and instincts as vehicles for discovering the inner-self. In this series I have conflated different animal forms into one body as a gestural depiction of the multiple identities that we embody but discover only in the spiritual practice of understanding the self by embracing the complexity of our desire instead of living in denial of its influence. All the hybrid, beastly, predatory forms in this series are engaged either in devouring or are eagerly anticipating the moment of feasting. Desire is either being fulfilled or is expecting to be, even though there seems to be no guarantee of immediate gratification.

Prior to this, his work focused on the interplay of religion and politics. I engaged with these issues and posited them in a metaphorical construct using an interspersion of references from his immediate environ, Indian history, myths, epics etc. Disparate visual elements culled from religious scriptures, traditional stories, old Calcutta woodcuts, political iconography, advertising images were placed in close proximity. The intent of these works is not to form overarching narratives, but to set up relationships between images and contexts, objects and issues and experience the power of the symbolic that lies beyond the visible imageries.

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


Puneet Kaushik

Born 1972 in New Delhi, Graduated in painting from the department of fine arts, Jamia

Milia Islamia University and did a Diploma in computer aided Graphic Design. He learnt

Studio art from the University of California, Berkeley, San Francisco. Credited with

conducting courses in Mixed Media painting and assisting certificate level students in

studio art at California, he began his career as an Illustrator, and worked as a Product

Designer and ran a design store Alter Ego in New Delhi, and designed for Handicraft

and Handloom set ups in India besides developing furniture designs, for home and

office interiors. Now concentrating fully on his art work, he creates installations in a

range of materials such as fabric, thread, and beads to create his art. Puneet has also

worked in digital and video art and participated in several exhibitions and workshops in

the Indian metros besides Singapore, Bali, and Berkeley amongst others.



Sumedh Rajendran

Sumedh Rajendran’s work hints at the wider context of human experience while engaging with the possibilities of sculptural experimentation. His early series critically examined the predicament of displacement, angst, identities and arguments between different layers of existence. He juxtaposes the contradictions, contrarian values and social apathy with his skillful usage of materials like ceramic tiles and leather that have distinct connotations in both sacred and profane contexts. Rajendran also uses other industrial materials such as tin sheets, cans, rubber, cement concrete, steel etc while giving them an aesthetic value. An uneasy interface of his composite imagery, surfaces and structures generates meanings with their references to the space and time they evolved in, for example, grilles and glass windows, accentuated contours of animals, inward transformations of day today objects etc. The constant negotiations with circumstances and the situational contrasts keep recurring in his works and it makes him work with images that people can relate to. And yet he uses this as a starting point to investigate and deconstruct these circulated images to explore their hidden ideologies.

Mona Rai

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


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 Rai; dots, dashes, slashes, directional strokes and

streaks create her particular style. Square canvases are seldom used in figurative or

narrative art, since dramatic distortions are hard to accommodate. The same format,

however, seems more feasible with regard to abstract art, where problems of proportion

and perspective do not arise.

The quality of tension and striving in Mona Rai’s canvasses is indeed intriguing. The

constant repetition of see what first appears to be randomness unified by the demands

of color, gives way to a feel of stillness, and tranquility. She has been quoted as saying:

“I need to feel the experience of actually hurling paint onto the canvas. I can see my

work opening itself up more and more.”

Her work also evokes deep meditativeness. Her work mostly relates to the cosmic

mystery of open space, light and time, that is intangible and cannot be easily ‘boxed or



Our program provides an opportunity for children to observe and interact
with a professional visual artist. It engages artists with children in dynamic arts education experiences. Designed to inspire creativity and build knowledge and skills in the arts, this hands on integrative approach to arts education illuminates the connections among people, ideas, and different cultures.


  • Create an in-depth experience between the artist, students, teachers and community.
  • Model integrating the arts into classroom curriculum
  • It is a two-part process, involving both the creation of art and the discovery ofits meaning.
  • The “analysis” of the artwork produced helps gain some level of insight into their work and lets them work through the issues in a constructive manner.
  • A key feature is that the participant, not the artist, directs the interpretation of the artwork.


    A book will be published which will document the children’s learning over a period of 4 months.

    It will address the following questions:

  •   What is the artist trying to say through the techniques and the symbols used?
  •   What is the relationship between the image and its historical context and its relevance in my present time?
  •   What are the visual and verbal relationships I can use to expand my understanding of art, knowledge and society?


Session Details

Age Group: Class 9-12
Fee: Rs.1500 per session. Rs.24,000 for 16 sessions (inclusive of all art material) plus service tax
Duration: August, 2016 to November 2016; Last two Fridays & Saturdays of each month.

Session timings: 4 to 6 hour per session Enrolment Details

Interested participants should enroll by paying the registered fee in favor of Artfirst Enterprises Pvt. Ltd.

Last date for registration: 10th August,2016

Contact: Gopa Trivedi Mob. : +91 7289884687 Email :



Rehaan Kaul
JamnabaiNarsee School, Mumbai

“Partner a Master program is a vessel which takes me on the journey of exploring the different parts of my mind. It has taught me to think out-of- the box and forced to me to apply my mind.”


Vasant Valley School, Delhi

“I will never forget that weird, seemingly happy moment of crushing our work of elephant grass with artist AsimWaqif into shreds- because after all, it does exist in my head- permanently. Asim made us realize that the only way to preserve the true beauty of a piece of art was in our memory”


Natasha Lopez
Convent of Jesus and Mary, Delhi

‘I realized that art is not just something that is aesthetically appealing, it is an expression of how we see the world.’



Partner a master2016 POSTER