I had some specific objectives in mind while conducting my art workshop in Chetla Home. It’s been two months since I have been going to the centre and conducting storytelling sessions. And in my sessions I have developed a rapport and interacted with these children. I observed that they are goal oriented in that they set themselves targets—like getting good marks, or getting a prize or at the least getting approval and appreciation from their teachers and mentors. This limits them as expectations of other often override their own creative instincts. However, they take initiative and some of these children have approached me on their own and shown their art works.
I have observed that they are used to depicting common motifs and their idea of art is conventional and rigid. Yet there are a few who use their imagination and draw—they are very creative. So in my workshop, I wanted to show them that drawing or sketching or in other words creating art isn’t just about representing objects as realistically as one can.
I gave them some crayons and paper and thought that I would ask them to draw something abstract. Then one child came up to me and showed me a poem that he had composed. The poem was wonderful, rhythmic and mature. It was about monsoon rain. I asked the children if they would like to draw monsoon rain and cloud. I myself started to draw clouds and rain with chalk on the black board. I told them to forget all the visual representations of rains and clouds that they may have seen before and try to draw the monsoon from perspective of a cloud. I asked them imagine: What if the clouds, the rain and the sky were actual people, what would they feel? I encouraged them to use different colours to represent clouds and to experiment and to play with the process of ‘mark making’. This they did and I could see that some of them were loosening up and were moving their crayons more freely.
Many other interesting things happened that day. One boy came up to me and showed me two of his paintings. He had depicted image of the Little Mermaid and Icarus. I had, in an earlier session, related Hans Christian Anderson’s ‘Little Mermaid’ and the Greek myth called ‘Icarus’s Flight’. The two paintings were exquisitely done—they were emotive and vivacious. These paintings filled my heart with happiness as I realised that without being asked he had illustrated the stories I had told him.