Art

Tribal children’s works to be exhibited in Outside the Lines

Thirty children from Ramachandrapuram brought out their creative best at an art workshop held by Maisha Studio

There’s a large white room with a ceiling dotted with yellow lights; in it are a chatty bunch of students and teachers — both young. Stooped in front of their canvases, some are engrossed in their work while a few are making excited conversations with their ‘one-day teachers’. The room, thus, is a perfect picture of bustling activity and co-learning, as yellow, blue and red canvases peek from the children’s lap, once in a while. At the farther end of the hall, is a beautiful mess — replete with used tubes of paints and palettes smeared with a rainbow of colours. Hailing from a tribal hamlet called Ramachandrapuram near Gummidipoondi, these children (30 of them) had come to the city for a one-day workshop initiated by Aishwarya Manivannan’s Maisha Studio. These works, will adorn the walls of a gallery, for a public exhibition, in June.

As I walk through the packed maze of students, almost all of them, have their brushes upturned. They dip the pointy end in colour to spot the canvases with different colours. I am told, that they are trying the technique of Pointillism — while some of them have chosen a pattern, others have gone with whatever is there in their minds. The latter is precisely what Aishwarya intended to do; encouraging everyone, regardless of their background, to express freely. The idea behind this workshop which will culminate in an exhibition called Outside the Lines (the annual showcase by Maisha studio), is this. This particular workshop is a collateral to the exhibition which will also display Aishwarya’s own students’ works (who constitute Maisha studio).

Tribal children’s works to be exhibited in Outside the Lines

The artist’s primary aim is let people know that art as a medium can be practised by anyone. She believes that all the other factors that could possibly deter the process, can be tackled. “For the last few years, we have been having collateral initiatives with a social objective: I want my students to share their knowledge and skills in order to add value to others and their own artistic talent,” says Aishwarya, who has been curating the exhibition for four years now. She continues, “No matter who the creator is, all art deserves an equal platform. The money that we raise from the exhibition will go into the running of an education centre in the locality.” Due to caste issues and such factors, most children in these areas drop-out of school when they reach Class VIII. “The education centre is looking to make a change in that regard,” she says. The centre is run by Sevai Karangal, an NGO that concentrates on the upliftment of people through awareness, in rural areas across Tamil Nadu. In that regard, education has been identified as a major factor that caters to the upliftment and better their employability, according to S Tilak Raj, founder and managing trustee. She continues, “Although we are working with only 30 children now, the proceeds that go into the centre, will ultimately help over hundreds of children in the long run.”

How did the artist identify this particular group? During the floods in 2015, Aishwarya had worked towards the rehabilitation of people in rural areas. In the process, she realised that a lot of relief aid does not reach the tribal population like that of the Irulars, due to the discrimination they face even within the locality. This was her first interaction with the villages within the Gummidipoondi taluk. On joining hands with Sevai Karangal, Aishwarya was able to bring this enthusiastic bunch for the workshop. As I stroll through the line of canvases, I see an impressive piece: with a background drenched in red and yellow, spots of red and black — carefully spaced — are strewn across the length, in a curvy pattern and are embellished with bigger circles. The creator is Radha, a class VIII, who tells me, “When I was giving the background colours, suddenly a thought struck me. I can’t really explain what it is, but I felt like I had to express it.”

Outside the Lines 2019, the annual student art and design exhibition, will be held on June 21 and 22 at Buva House, Khader Nawaz Khan Road. For details, call 9962135717.

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Printable version | Feb 21, 2020 4:19:05 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/art/technicolour-dreams-tribal-children-art-workshop/article27262787.ece

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