Imagine a Day by Rob Gonsalves and Sarah L. Thomson


“To Uncle Al, who imagined I could be an artist”
– RG


Rob Gonsalves is an artist of illusion, and in his ‘Imagine a…’ series serve to remind us of how important imagination is to childhood.

Reminiscent of Escher, Gonsalves’ paintings, begin wherever the eye falls and morphs into something completely different as the eye travels further into each painting. The very cover of the Imagine a Day is a self-fulfiling prophesy, as a family of young sand-castle builders seem to create a life-sized castle.

Gonsalves’ surrealist play on perspectives makes the step into fantasy seem effortless. Sarah L. Thompson textual accompaniment gives young readers a cue to the phantasmagorical possibilities of each work.

imagine a day…
… when the edge of the map
is only the beginning
of what we can explore.

On several pages, the characters seem to be travelling into the painting, or conversely leaping out of the pages. An inspired young reader can be prompted to follow along, curiously.

Writer at Art1st

PS: If you run out of pages, fear not, for you find several collections online, like here.



The Colour Thief by Gabriel Alborozo


Imagine a world with no colour. No green grass, no blue skies, no colour at all! Well, Zot lived on a greyscale planet, and let me tell you, it was a sad place.

So who is Zot anyway? He is the main alien in Gabriel Alborozo’s The Colour Thief. Unlike his friends and brethren, Zot is a go-getter. Instead of wallowing in his monochromatic home, he sets off on an adventure to the shining blue and green planet that gleams across the galaxy. Any guesses on which planet is what? If you were paying close attention to the title of the story, you know what happens next.

Zot stole all the colours! He called out in his strange language ‘and all the red soared through the air and into his open bag.’ Sparkling with happiness, Zot raced across the planet collecting every single colour, until, he saw a boy with an orange balloon. Well, of course, he stole the orange too. But I won’t tell you what happened after that- you’ll just have to read the book.

Alborozo writes and illustrates his own books. In The Colour Thief, his illustrations are vibrant, when colourful and melancholic when bleached. Having worked as a cartoonist for many years, his characters leap off the page.

We often make use of The Colour Thief in sessions with children, to help them engage with the colours around them. As the story unfurls, and Zot progresses from wan to joy, they explore emotions if they were in a black-and-white world themselves. How would you feel if you were holding a bright orange balloon and suddenly, it’s grey?


Tell us what your favourite colour is. Can you imagine a world without it?

Writer at Art1st

‘Harold and the Purple Crayon’ by Crockett Johnson

Okay. We’ll admit it. We love books about crayons.
(mostly because they’re so colourful and fun)

Well, this is a story about a little bundle boy called Harold.
Our hero Harold has a purple crayon. And with that crayon, he draws the world!

This Papa’s palm-sized purple paperback is rich in imagination and its applications. Johnson’s illustrations explore the flexibility of a simple line as Harold makes his purple journey. Purposefully minimal, the pages of Crockett Johnson’s ‘Harold and the Purple Crayon’ allow the imaginative reader to fill in the colours.

The next time you’re in bed, but can’t quite sleep, grab hold of a purple crayon and see where it will take you.

Writer at Art1st

A Journey through Visual History of Indian Modern Art: Day 3 for Mumbai Progressive Artist, Ram Kumar

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.

DSC_0398 Everyone being introduced to Mr. Prayag Shukla

DSC_0349Art can never have only one meaning”

DSC_0341  Mr. Prayag Shukla reciting “Dhamak Dhamak”, his poem for children.

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.

A Journey through Visual History of Indian Modern Art: Day 1 @ Delhi Art Gallery

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?

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              “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.

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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.

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After this the children chose a few favorite artworks and sketched in their notebooks any element from them.

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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)

Reanna Palia’s Artist Statement



My piece depicts the light within our souls.  Light is energy and it can be used positively or negatively. I have tried to trap that light of our soul.

The light that radiates from the mannequin is supposed to depict the aura or energy of the person.

I like to imagine that when we were created God put a little light in each of us. Now its our choice whether we use it to shine!

Reanna Palia is a 13 year old student at Bombay International School, Mumbai. She was a part of Art1st Partner a Master: artist mentor program in 2013-14. And this body of work was created under the mentorship of Prajakta Potnis.

Training in Art Education at Shiv Nadar School, Delhi

On March 28, 2014, Art1st initiated a 3-day training workshop for art teachers at the Shiv Nadar School, Gurgaon. The workshop rolled out with a warm-up session involving a collective doodling exercise by way of identifying of forms within a massive squiggle. The most stirring narrative which was woven was that of a mythical being with an inverted eye which had ingested a bird and displayed a dinosaur egg as its headgear. This exercise opened up the eyes of the mind to a whirlwind of possibilities thereby liberating the teachers from airtight opinions and judgments in and around the ‘arty’ turf. 

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In other words, in a world becoming more and more organised around discipline and normal functioning have put the demands of confirming to the normative very high and this demand of confirmation is what these exercises challenge. They are not merely about thinking ‘out of the box’ or utilising perceptual capacities to full, they are geared more at expanding the horizons of perception and finding inner meanings to what bare eyes see. 

This is exactly what one saw in the next session with ink blot test spanning across the session. In the first segment, respondents came up with nuanced inferences. The most striking amongst them was that of Cinderella with her flowing gown, hurrying down the palace with her slippers tossed on both sides. The other conspicuous rendition was the tale of the two ducks which was seen as two sides of the same coin. This implementation brought to the fore many a dream-like fabrication and the undefined possibilities of giving meaning and expression to that which ‘we see’.

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It was well received that a stimulus could generate myriad responses in the mind of an individual. The conjectures were left open-ended with no fixed parameters judging accuracy. In the group activity involving the ink blot test, interesting deductions were made, of which the ladybird under the hawk’s gaze drew great applause. It was novel in the way simple forms told the most uninhibited stories. The core spirit of the workshop lay in giving teachers the space to bear their minds open to the child’s receptive capabilities. 

The message of the workshop was simple, or so it seems. It wanted to convey the fact that the same impressions, figures or virtually any aspect of visual world can be differently perceived by different people and therein lay immense potentials of plural interpretations and critical engagements. It further opens up the possibilities of unleashing the creativity hidden deep within everyone, repressed sometimes by fears of getting identified as the odd one out.