Day 3 was held at Gallery 7 where all the children went to see the exhibition of Ram Kumar, a Bombay Progressives artist.
The show started with Mr. Prayag Shukla, art critic & poet, introducing the artist and his life. He also led the discussion about the interpretations of art and its meaning(s).“Apni masti mein chalta hai artist, it doesn’t matter whether we paint or not, but we become an artist when we see a work of art. We become an artist because we start adding and subtracting from the work; we see what is there but we also see what is not there.” The kids learnt that every piece of art always has more than one meaning and should always be open to interpretation.
The children then went on to create spontaneous works where they explored the beauty of lines and color, inspired by the creations of Ram Kumar.
This piece is written by Rehaan Kaul, a student intern for Art1st.
Day 2 kicked off to a start by a small exercise to calm everybody down. This was followed by a short exercise where everyone went around the gallery and filled in the timeline they were provided
After this concluded, the children moved on to describing their favorite artwork and what it meant to them. Per artwork discussions were initiated and the children dwelled into the deeper meaning of the piece and what it made them feel.
“I love this painting because it has many of my favourite things in it. Like a season ball”
“I really love the way it is so small yet has brilliant detail. The way the colours convey different moods appeal to me and the warmth of the 4th painting comforted me.”
“The realism of the painting is what I really like.The way the artist adds subtleties like the clock and medals helps us understand the character of the person shown.”
After the conclusion of this exercise the children sat down to create an artwork with the elements from Day 1’s sketches which they incorporated into a piece that had a story/meaning.
This ART1ST workshop revolved around making the children and young adults aware about Indian Art and its various styles and schools.
The workshop began with the children being asked an important question: Who is an artist?
“An Artist is an explorer” “An Artist is a dreamer”
” An Artist is a creator”
This was followed by the ‘Eye Spy’ game where each participant was given an eye which belonged to a painting among the various present at the gallery. Their job was to navigate through the labyrinth of paintings and find the one which matched the eye they were provided. On finding the right painting, they wrote the name of the artist, the year of conception, name of painting and the school of art it belonged to.
The children then reconvened back at the meeting point and shared their discoveries and hence the different types of schools were introduced. From all the eyes, a timeline was created that showed the span of different art forms through the years in the country.
After this the children chose a few favorite artworks and sketched in their notebooks any element from them.
The day ended with everyone sharing the objects/elements they had picked from the paintings they had liked. It was interesting to hear their reasons for picking it- “It had a cricket ball”, “”I loved the lamps”, “I liked the wings”
Wings…that’s what they gave to their ideas, their thoughts.
Rehaan Kaul (Correspondent for Art1st)
Thank you for your support and for being a part of our fraternity!
As a treat to all art lovers I am sharing the works of a very special Artist/illustrator, Shaun Tan. I will also share with you his book The Arrival and the outstanding adaptation in a musical and also stage performance. Such is the power of his visual imagery, his wordless books!
Enjoy you Saturday!
On December 7, Art1st MPC and Delhi Art Gallery hosted a collaborative Open Minds session – a walkthrough of the exhibition ‘Retrospective of the Progressive Artists Group’.
On a sunny Saturday morning
As participants trickled in, making way through the by-lanes of Kala Ghoda on a Saturday morning, the ground floor of the gallery started filling up with curious students, teachers and parents of students, and soon bunches of participants got scattered in observing paintings.
It was wonderful for participants to stroll at ease, through the sunlit three-storey gallery, with wooden floor, white windows with pretty grills, and be absorbed in original paintings by the Progressive Artists Group, one should consider fortunate to be able to experience up-close.
Engaging with the paintings
Soon, our moderators Amrita Gupta Singh, Program Director, MPC and Tehezeeb Moitra, Research Associate, DAG began the session, speaking about each painting, moving from one master painter to the other. The moderators spoke of the painting style of the artist, content of the painting, background and nuances of the painters’ life that influenced their paintings, emotional influences on an artists’ work, historical background and analytical remarks on each painting.
The moderators took the participants through works of M. F. Husain, H. A. Gade, S. H. Raza, K. H. Ara, S. K. Bakre, F. N. Souza, Bal Chhabda, V. S. Gaitonde, Krishen Khanna, Tyeb Mehta, Mohan Samant, Akbar Padamsee and Ram Kumar.
For many of the teachers, it was the first time visiting an art gallery. They mentioned that, to begin with, the session simply helped them to understand how to look at a painting, what aspects to consider while analysing and got aware of perceiving an art work. “I always used to wonder, why I liked certain paintings but never knew how to articulate the reasons for liking them. This session has brought clarity in that aspect”, said one of the participating teachers.
Even unconsciously, any visitor would walk out informed about the Progressive Artists after strolling through the Delhi Art Gallery, Kala Ghoda, which is surrounded by places like Artists’ Centre, Samovar Cafe, Jehangir Gallery, which were ‘adda’ of many of the Progressive Artists in the days.
Presentation and discussion
The walkthrough was followed by a presentation on the fourth floor of the gallery, which has a small sculpture room. Beginning with a few examples from paintings from the early 1900’s, the moderators set base to explain what was happening in the art scene in India before the Progressive Artists’ Group came about. Visual examples realistic paintings by Pestonji Bomanji, Abanindranath Tagore and Raja Ravi Varma led the presentation of the modernists.
Questions of nationalistic purpose of the Progressive Artists Group, Eastness, Japanese traditions, articulation and the artists’ thrust on the need for Indian art to have its own modernity were discussed.
The presentation took the participants through more visuals of each of the artists that they had discussed during the walkthrough, sometimes drawing comparison with European masters, with similar style and subject matter. Quotes from each of the artists added in understanding the artists understanding and intention further.
When asked to react to Souza’s paintings that show distorted heads, one of the participants, a school student, said, “Souza has taken the element of distortion to a level where one cannot just sit and not react. The paintings look ugly, but demand a reaction.”
“I will try to be more open-minded and not stick to the classical definition of beauty.”
“The manner in which artworks were analaysed makes me realise that artworks have immense emotional effect on the viewer.”
“I will apply this in my classroom and have an art appreciation session for my students.”
“I want to know much more about Progressive Artists now and will read more books on art.”
“I will step out of the conventional way of giving classes. I will get students to delve into art at personal and shared levels.”
“It was good to visit the gallery and go through these artworks, which we otherwise would not have seen. Usually we have seen contemporary art. I will go to galleries with an open mind now.”
“Freedom of expression is most important.”
Facilitator- Vidhya Shivadas |Open Minds, DELHI | Indian Art: An overview of the Modern and Contemporary art movements in India | Tuesday the 17th of Decmber @ The Shri Ram School, Vasant Vihar
Open Minds Seminars, MUMBAI| Exhibition walkthrough and discussion| Saturday the7th of December @ Delhi Art Gallery, Kala Ghoda |Facilitators- Amrita Gupta Singh & Tehezeeb Moitra