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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Anita Dube: Retracing our history

Artist and mentor for the month of December, Ms. Anita Dube’s work revolves around personal and social memory, history and mythology and these were the same themes that she explored with the participants of Partner a Master, Delhi. Shambhavi Thakur writes about her experience and what she learned from the esteemed artist.

I had never really thought about the connections between Art and History. I always knew that History played a big role in all of our lives. For example, in the field of science, when we study about earlier scientists and their theories, it helps us understand evolution. In geography, the charting of prior movements of tectonic plates helps us predict new ones for the future. The history of one political party helps us decide whether to vote for them in the next term or not. But I never really knew about how much of a direct connection history has had with art. And this session with Anita Dube has helped me understand that.

When she described her work she explained the link between what we see and absorb and how it influences what we make. The more we read and see the more diverse and different our works will be. The more of our past we are able to know about, the richer our knowledge base will be and the more techniques we will be able to apply in our work.

Anita ma’am continued to make historical references and allusions as she spoke. It was extremely interesting to listen to her talk as she drew analogies between artists of different eras and times. It genuinely made me think about the vast knowledge expanse of a historian.

 

Anita ma’am asked us two questions.

The first was, “What is your idea of beauty?”
 

My idea of beauty was nature.

For converting my idea of beauty; nature into a piece of art, I took inspiration from a work of hers called “Silence Blood Wedding” (where she had zoomed into the human body’s framework and beautified it) and I zoomed into the trunk of a tree. I used clay as my medium and made a rectangular slab. I gave it relief features and made carvings into it so it looked like a real section of the tree’s bark.

The second question she asked us was, “What does past mean to you and what kind of relationship do you have with the past?”

In our family, we have always been big fans of music. My father had an extremely big collection of CDs, cassettes and vinyls which we have always treasured. It mostly consisted of music from the 60s-90s. My brother and I grew up listening to this music, so this is our relationship with the past. I wanted to do something related to music and musicians from these eras and their influence in the music industry today. So I decided to make a collage of all these bands. I also wanted to include bands from the modern industry which have a similar sound to these classic bands and have at some point in their career been influenced by these bands.
In Anita ma’am’s presentation she showed us her works which involved typography and fonts. So in my collage instead of putting pictures I put band logos. I made these logos all with a black sketch pen. The monotonous effect made it bold, but it also made sure the logos didn’t clash.

She had absorbed what she saw and put it across through art, which is what we all aspire to do. I loved how each art work could be identified with its own era and time. The idea of a piece of art making a comment on current affairs or just making a simple statement was something that I walked away with from the session.

(Shambhavi Thakur is a student at The Shri Ram School, New Delhi.)

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Partner a Master 2013-14, Delhi, students’ work features in new MTS advertisement

The wall adorned with graffiti done by kids from Partner a Master 2013-14, DELHI, mentored by one of the most well-known Indian street artists, DaKu, recently featured in a televised advertisement for MTS Canvas Blaze.
Read more about the project here.

Tanujaa Rane: Recreating creatures from the dreamworld

Over a span of 2 sessions, Tanujaa Rane worked with the children to delve further into the art of dry point printing. The crux of making good dry point is being able to scratch effortlessly on the given sheet (in this case Plexiglas) and so character and rendering took center stage.

The students drawing were more complex than they were during the first part of the workshop. Tanujaa fuelled their thinking by encouraging them to share their ideas and thoughts with each other . She gave them ideas as to how they could make their sketches more innovative.

She pushed them to go beyond the mundane and work on designing a plate that reflected their individual personalities. Some merged living beings with inanimate objects to create fantastical and whimsical creatures of the dreamworld. Their thought process were ignited and one of them said:

“I want to draw an elephant OR a plane. “

“Why not draw BOTH?”

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The artist suggested the children try and get under the skin of various animals to

 see which one’s personality best reflects their own. The kids delved into their own psyche to figure out what best suited them and what they would be most comfortable drawing. All the final plates were influenced heavily by nature and evolution.

After making the basic outline of their design on the plates, the students began rendering to create texture, light and dark, and shadows. They explored the various methods of scratching (curly, cross hatch, wavy lines) and the effect of increasing and decreasing the pressure of the needle on the plate and what the resultant outcome would be.

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As Tanujaa explained that the process has more to do with the overall feel and texture of the plate than about the design itself. The focus of the project was on the style of rendering and being able to understand yourself better. The final artworks were a set of quirky, character revealing prints.