Blog

This is a special space – one where the team of teachers, staff, children, alumni, partners and customers use their colours, shiny sequins and pompoms to talk about their art ideas, stories, triumphs as well as challenges. This is the voice of Art for Akanksha.

 ‘Life is like this – dark and messy but there’s light. You have to believe that.’

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Raju, an Akanksha alumnus, began art when he was just 8 years old through the weekend art classes at Akanksha. He stood out right from the start for his drive to get it right, to be different and to be meticulous in everything he did. He came in class with all his troubles and very often retreated within himself but he knew it was a space he owned. Whatever may be happening elsewhere, in his art class, he was the king.

Raju shares anecdotes from his childhood and journey as a mischievous child to a responsible adult whose career in art today defines his destiny.

“Before I joined Akanksha, I was careless and very naughty. I didn’t listen to anyone and drove my teachers up the wall! So one fine day, I simply decided to stop going to school! My parents were not happy with my decision. My friend Appuraja, who was an Akanksha student, approached my family and got me enrolled into Akanksha. Thanks to the didis and bhaiyas there, the Municipal school that I used to go to, agreed to take me back.”

“Akanksha was my home away from home. I rarely attended school, but I didn’t miss a single day at my Akanksha centre. Even though our centre timing was till 11:30 am, I would hang around till noon. My life at the centre was totally different from my experiences in school. I enjoyed every session, every activity, carefully planned by my didis and bhaiyas and was curious to know more.”

No one in class could surpass Raju’s brilliance and with the support of his teacher, he made it through a diploma in fine art through the Raheja College.

“I was passionate about art from the very beginning. And I was lucky because I was part of art class from the second day that I joined Akanksha! My school would actually misuse my talent to win prizes because I was the only child who stood first or second in all the drawing competitions. It was in Akanksha that my art was truly valued and respected. It pushed me to look at a future in this field and my didis and bhaiyas were the ones who got me into Art College and helped strengthen the foundation of my career in art. Today my work is my world! My work is enjoyment! My work has given me freedom!”

Today, at 27, Raju freelances as an Assistant Set Designer and Art Director, which he loves because it challenges him and keeps him on his toes. Things at a personal level have always been turbulent but he says that his art has kept him stable and sane. “Art has been there for me when I felt all alone and when there was no one else.”

Need we say more!

Support more children like Raju. Support art education.

Buy Raju’s art on our products at http://www.artforakanksha.org/shop-products/

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Morgan Stanley celebrates volunteering day with colours!

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The team at Morgan Stanley wanted to do something special and different for their volunteering day. There were many objectives to achieve – team building, having fun along with being able to make a difference in someone’s life.

They decided to brighten up the walls of a hospital with the help of the Art for Akanksha team.

We took the theme of ‘things that make me happy and things that I’m grateful for’ and opened it out for brainstorming in both the teams and came up with an interesting list of moments that we all feel grateful for. It ranged from family, friends, sunshine to education and food and music to playing football or feeling your hair in the wind as you cycle!

We took this list of a mix of serious as well as the whimsical into simple sketches, which were painted on 35 canvases and through a serious of workshops, got over 200 employees from two of the Morgan Stanley offices to paint on them.

The workshops were simple, fun and for most of the participants really surprising. They surprised themselves and each other with what they could do with colours. And we hope that the art brightens up many hospital walls!

“I want to be known by my work.”

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A shy little child joined Akanksha at the age of eight. Her name was Sana. “Before I joined Akanksha I was scared of everything. In the school that I went to, my teachers would beat me, and insult me in front of the whole class. They would ask me why I come to school if I don’t have money. I didn’t have any friends in school either.” Sana’s aunt got them word that a new tuition class had started nearby and her mother was keen on seeing what it was all about. What was Akanksha? What could it do for her? Little Sana hardly thought about it. Her mother was supportive of the idea and when Sana went to the Akanksha centre, a new world opened up for her. A world which helped Sana become who she is today – an alumni who upholds every value that Akanksha has ever taught; a self assured, honest, diligent professional with a heart of gold and a head full of dreams; a responsible and loving daughter and sister who supports a family of seven. Sana is someone you’re not likely to forget if you’ve met her once.

“When I think of pre-Akanksha days, I get upset. Those are the only memories that I’d want to erase from my life. I remember, it was raining hard one day and I went to school without a raincoat and was wet from head to toe. The teachers told me to stay out till my clothes were dry.”

“I joined design class at a time when everything was going wrong for me and I had really low self esteem. But the more classes I attended the more I learnt about myself. I learnt that I should never laugh at anyone or pull them down. I learnt that I should always encourage people and help them grow in confidence.”

“I could neither speak nor understand English before I joined Akanksha. I could never tell the difference between today, tomorrow and yesterday! But now I interact with my clients in English, I conduct workshops at corporates with complete confidence. I love home exhibitions purely because I get a chance to talk to so many individuals. This change in me happened only because of my education. Stepping into the Akanksha centre was like stepping into heaven. I was showered with love and affection from everyone. And a lot many opportunities came my way as well.”

Sana was 18, when her family needed financial support and she had to get a job. Her familiarity with Akanksha brought her back and today Sana is an integral part of Art for Akanksha and works as an Art Associate. “Many of my friends are married, but now my parents know I am capable of earning and being independent. I have been working with the art department for many years now. It is here that I have learnt to make choices for myself.”

“Art and work have completely changed my life! It has given me the confidence to look at things differently, to find solutions to problems. Through art I’ve learnt to give a 100% to my work, at all times, keeping personal problems aside, I ensure that things get done on time. I don’t want people to know me by my name. But I want them to know me by my work.”

“In art class I came up with my own unique style of using dots. It was a phase, where I only used dots and I would get completely engrossed in them. The dot was a mirror that helped me realise my potential. I’ve tried to bring it back again! Hope you like it.”

 

Art Comes to Grant Road Station

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Grant Road Station, 10 am, October 2, Gandhi Jayanti. It’s unbelievable how much action there was. A little team from Akanksha painted away on a dirty, wet portion of the station as part of a larger initiative to make the railway stations of the city a little less dreary.

Before we knew it, a painter on his way to work dropped by to give us his suggestions, a father with his five year old decided to not go where he was going and joined us instead! The organisers were so excited that they became our team of painters.

It’s amazing how things happen even when they feel like they’re not happening.

Hats off to the little team of Akanksha alumni, headed by Suraj, who worked on this!

This is one of the two walls that the Akanksha team is painting.

Art for Akanksha murals are a great way to have a space transformed while painting with a group of little artists from Akanksha. We paint office spaces, bedrooms, schools – we just need a brief and a wall!! Get in touch with ruchika.gupta@akanksha.org

Visit our shop http://www.artforakanksha.org/shop-products/

Lending a Home to Art!

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To help us in our endeavour to spread the message of art and its immense possibilities in impacting the lives of our children, Art for Akanksha supporters decided to come together by…lending us their homes!

They decided that a simple way to raise money for art education was to bring their family and friends into their homes and to overwhelm them by a crazy riot of colours in the form of our products designed to be bursting with energy and vibrancy.

It’s a simple yet powerful concept. The Art for Akanksha Home Bazaars.

Over the years, we’ve had many of our ardent supporters lend their homes to us for a day – to turn their living rooms into a bazaar space, but one which is more intimate and personal. It becomes a space to understand what art can do for children and how they in turn can support it – through sales, donations, teaching and volunteering.

As we launch a new collection of designs and products for the festive season, the Home Bazaars become an incredible tool for us to meet new people, and open up opportunities in many new directions.

Here’s a little peak into our gracious hosts Indu and Shameek Bhargava’s home. We were overwhelmed by their love and wonderful response from their friends and family.

If you’ve missed the excitement here, you can catch us again at Riyana and Ishani’s home tomorrow, September 23rd, from 11am to 7pm, at 1101 Callalily, Z Wing, Nahar Amrit Shakti Chandivali, Powai. Bring your friends along to witness the magic of art and children. Do help us spread the word!

Skyline from the Retrospective Collection Flowers From the Retrospective Collection

 

Laheriya Magic!

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It was like watching a magician unfold a magic trick. The gasps, the aww, the bright eyes that filled the room were amazing to watch as Badshah Miyan, a national award winning Laheriya artist taught a class in one of the Akanksha run BMC schools.

Understated in his style and thrilled to be teaching, Badshah Miyan said ‘Who says India does not have talent. Give these children a month with a technique like laheriyan and watch the wonders.’ Teachers who watched the workshop felt that such opportunities were key in providing students a sense of respect for art forms that are slowly disappearing. There is no greater sense of achievement than actually creating something yourself from scratch.

We thank the team at Paramparik Karigar for the work they do in bringing artisans to the city and providing schools like our’s the chance to believe in magic.

Rakhis by Art for Akanksha

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The Art for Akanksha Rakhis will take you back to all those childhood memories that make your sibling bond so very special. We therefore invite you to celebrate it this year with Rakhi designs created by our children that come with all their love and learnings, and help you revisit those fun times like never before.

Shop for your favourite Rakhi designs at http://www.artforakanksha.org/shop-products/