Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Art is all around

Originally uploaded by dalbhat
The news and various other media often seem to portray Kolkata as all doom, gloom, helpless can really feel like life is all in the gutter here if you read such reports. There is a little paradise I visit twice a week (sometimes more) on the second floor, in a rented apartment and it brings me much hope and provides me with an outlet for my creativity.

Here is an English write-up for the art exhibition that has been substituting for eating, sleeping and breathing lately...and xmas preparations as well. It was written by our principal and students. I am finding over and over that alternative really an attitude, a way of life. It's what I walk. I so wish that all my family and friends could attend this as I somehow feel it is about every step I've taken, every country I've spent time in, every journal entry I've written, every day I have spent cutting and pasting stuff, every envelope I've saved, person I have met, vegetable scrap I've mixed into the compost.....(you get the picture)


This two-day event at SHIKSHAMITRA is not just a “school art exhibition.”

Drawing, painting, sewing, various crafts, watching art pieces , films, listening to music, theatre, dancing – all of these are part of our daily classes.

✺ Anita Sardar:
“Drawing, clay modeling, sewing, theatre, singing, dancing are essential to studying anything because there are many who do not like to do just ‘reading’.”

Here “art” is not just two periods per week or an “extra curricular” activity. Art is everywhere all the time – on the walls, on doors, on the floor, on the blackboards. It is on paper and on cloth; and even in the exams. People think this is an “Art School.” Singing and theatre are part of English classes as well as those of Geography.

✺ Indu:
“Our school is different. If there is drawing and painting with lessons, then studying becomes fun. It also becomes easy to teach. In other schools, they give books and ask that you only write in there but we don’t do that here. We do writing and drawing – after we read anything.”

Not just paper, but clay and cloth are our constant companions. But we rarely “buy” these. Used papers, thongas (envelopes from used papers), thrown away paper boxes, old clothes are re-created and re-used for drawing, painting, stitching.

This exhibition gives a glimpse of three and half years of Shikshamitra’s total educational efforts. We hope you will get some idea of what we are trying to achieve and the role of Art in all of this.

✺ Shantanu Naskar:
“We can’t remember anything only by reading, so we draw what we love to do and enjoy. Then we “read” the drawing.”