The Akanksha schools were privileged to have Indian folk artists from around the country conduct workshops in our schools. As the first leg of a tie-up with Paramparik Karigar, we had 35 students in the Shindewadi Mumbai Public School between grades 6 and 8, hear the story of Gond art from an artisan who breathes the art day in and out. It’s been passed down generations of his family and today through the efforts of organisations like Paramparik Karigar, he gets to take his art into the cities and earn a living. This art form is popular among most tribes in Madhya Pradesh and it is particularly well developed as an art among the Gond tribe of Mandala District. The students, who were very excited to see the artist in person, asked him several questions around when he started painting, what were the different mediums he uses, how he makes natural colours and more! They were curious to know how they could make their own colours at home if they wanted to. As the children concentrated on creating their own special pieces, one said, “You need a lot of patience to make Gond art as it has very detailed work.”
The Akanksha students got the chance to experience an art in a way that is rare – through the eyes of someone whose life story is intertwined with the story of the art form. Ramesh Tekam bhaiya enthralled the students and gave them a chance to keep his art alive.
Picasso installation by Art for Akanksha students awarded third place at the Kala Ghoda
The tall, colorful, almost bizarre Picasso installation blends in beautifully amongst the many at the Kala Ghoda festival. There are installations on Andy Warhol, Zakhir Husain, Brinda Miller, Henri Rousseau and many others. As you walk by these pieces of art, you’re blown away with what children can do, what art can do for children and what schools can do if they believe in the power of art for their children.
What you don’t really think of seeing are the placards next to each which proudly say who’s created them. If you looked at those you’d realize what an incredible social leveler art can be. Within that little garden of the Prince of Wales museum, you have some of the most privileged schools along with government schools. And you’d never be able to guess which belonged to which.
It makes me believe even more strongly in the power of art, it makes me believe what we have always believed at Akanksha – children are essentially the same, they only differ in the opportunities that they have access to.
As I got calls and emails congratulating us for getting third place for our Picasso installation, I felt proud of my Akanksha children and teachers because they can do anything they set their minds to. Resources matter and make a difference, but belief, determination and passion is what will always make that bizarre, tall, wildly colored Picasso stand out. So proud!
Director, Art for Akanksha
“I cannot understand Raza’s art but I have learnt that it is alright to not always understand things.” Suraj
SH Raza was fascinating to study because there was so much to understand and so much that was left to the students to interpret and make their own. It left students with the sense that no matter how they saw a piece of art, it was right – what was important was that they tried to connect it to their lives and to find meaning for themselves.
Like Suraj said, you can’t always ‘get it’ when you see a piece of art; so much of the story is left for you to interpret.
Artists of Abhyudaya Mumbai Public School – an MCGM school run in partnership with the Akanksha Foundation
Visit the Prince of Wales Museum gardens and send in your pictures with the Art for Akanksha installations at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Going Cubic with Picasso
Sunflower in the making
Learning Van Gogh
Working on Starry Night
“Picasso wanted to do something different. So he came up with Cubism. Cubism was totally different from what the artists before Picasso had ever painted.” Says Rohit.
This installation has been all about having fun while learning about Cubism and specifically the life and works of Pablo Picasso.
The disjointed elements of this piece of art were a riot to put together! And it was a great opener for discussions around ‘What is art?’ Who decides what is good art?
We don’t have the answers but as a group, the students got thinking about them.
This is a labour of love by the children of Shindewadi Mumbai Public School
To know what Picasso taught Rohit do visit the Prince of Wales Museum gardens. Send in your pictures with the installation at email@example.com and keep watching this space for more updates on other masterpieces by the Akanksha children. We look forward to your comments!
It’s been a big year for us. Art for Akanksha finds its feet as a non-profit – and this opens up our doors to many other municipal schools and non-profits who would like to see the impact of a powerful art programme on their children and not just the Akanksha children. It’s an exciting chapter that’s begun for us as we move towards all that Art for Akanksha can aspire to become. As we settle into our new office, we invite you to be part of this journey of discovery – a journey from then to now to all that the future has in store.
We look forward to seeing you at:
Art for Akanksha, Voltas House C, TB Kadam Marg, Chinchpokli Station East (right next to the Akanksha office)
Phone: +91 22 65246333