Sara Vetteth's Art for Kids, through the works of two well-known artists, introduces childrento the world of paintings
Sara Vetteth's questions get a variety of answers during the launch of her books Art for Kids at Kids Central Nursery and Play School in Kotturpuram. Dressed in bright orange, lime green, red, blue and yellow, rows of children raise their hands to every question. “We're going to look at the paintings of two well-known artists,” she begins, “Ram Kumar and Ramachandran. Does anyone know who Ramachandran is?” A sole voice pipes up excitedly, “My grandfather.” She laughs and replies, “No, this is another one.”
Art for Kids is a series of two books that looks at the sketches of two well-known artists; A. Ramachandran and Ram Kumar. The book looks into their paintings, explaining them in simple terms and leaving some questions open for children to build their own perspective. “The water is not always blue and the grass is not always green.” Sara holds up Ram Kumar's abstract art: “Can anyone tell me what abstract means?” she asks, “Messy!” comes the reply.
“I lived in the U.S. for five years and did my Masters in design and technology. I was also teaching there, when I noticed that children have an opportunity to explore art. There are museums with books on Picasso and other major artists, written especially for kids. But when I came back here, I realised that nothing of that sort was happening here,” she explains, “So, I began working on it about two years ago. Vadehra Gallery in New Delhi sponsors art projects and they approached me when they heard about what I was doing. Being a designer, I had some ideas and they did the editing, layout and brought it out for distribution through IPD.”
Sara wanted to bring in renowned artists so that kids are aware of the world of art. “Of course, it also depended on who was reachable and willing to work with me. I approached Ram Kumar and Ramachandran and they were very open and generous with their time. They even told me what kind of paintings or elements children would like in the book and helped me put it together,” she says.
Writing for children was the tough part, and Sara had to do extensive research to understand the paintings and make it easier for children. “There are huge volumes that have been written about these artists' paintings and I had to read them all and choose what is important for my book and make it short and crisp. My third book is ready now and it will look at K.G. Subramanyam's art.”
Art for Kids has been launched in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai and Kerala. “I get a lot of feedback from parents, who are happy that I'm doing this project.”