Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Puppets and Patas at RCFC

at RCFC function
Originally uploaded by dalbhat
On Sunday, we held a joint event for a group of 30 visitors from the Unity Church in the US. The event was held at RCFC and brought together several projects: Rosalie's Empower the Children brought school kids to welcome the guests, the children from RCFC well-rehearsed, perfectly presented puppet show of Hansel and Gretl, and I brought Karuna Chitrakar along from Mustard Seeds to demonstrate how patas picture scrolls are made. Finally, all the visitors made a little pata-style painting with a child, rolled it up and tied it to take home. It was a unique experience for everyone. The fact that it was held at RCFC was a wonderful coincidence as I have been wanting to visit there for a long time. I could feel Jane Webb smiling down at us all, proud of the good energy being put out in the world from the little campus in Behala. Coming home, Karuna told me that she also knew Jane Webb and used to go sing at her home before she moved to RCFC.

Jane's room is kept there just as she had left it.

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Thursday, September 06, 2007

Block printing at Shikshamitra

noor's prints
Originally uploaded by dalbhat
Yesterday Ratnabali came to "play" with my students doing the Learn and Earn program at Shikshamitra. She taught them how to do block printing onto rice paper in the hopes that we can make our own wrapping paper or make patches for our eco-bags. The kids also thought that they could make pretty gift bags from these.

Ratna works for the organization Anjali, which brings structured art therapy programs into three government-run mental institutions right here in Kolkata. She spoke to my students about the people she works with and helped the children to understand them a little better: they also need food, clothing, love, human rights and education...just like you and me.

After Ratna left, her message rang out in our class. Do your work with ENERGY! What a fun day we had. Every time a child finished their paper, Ratna boomed out with words of praise and happiness. I'm not sure who was having more fun, the kids or her!

Thanks for bringing your energy into our classroom. We are going to try to build a proper pressing table in our class on Tuesday, as suggested for doing proper printing.