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.