Reach out for the rainbow

TIME FOR CREATIVITY: First the drawings and then the models in clay.   | Photo Credit: PHOTO: M.KARUNAKARAN


A summer programme that aimed at bringing out the artist in each participant.

A computer with a mouse, a hooded cobra, a frog on a lily pad, a pearl in an oyster, a trident, tribal artefacts, religious motifs, all done in clay reposed in the glass case at the centenary exhibition hall in the Government Museum in Egmore. We were gazing at the artefacts that were made by the children of nearly 95 Corporation schools in Chennai, that came under Zone I - X.The brainchild of G. Chandrashekeran, Principal, Government School of Fine Arts, the summer workshop had the students from Stds. I to X from Corporation schools in the city participating with zest. For them it was a never-to-be-forgotten experience as nearly 80 per cent of them, that's including the teachers, had never visited a museum.

Observe and draw

Chandrashekeran explained that many workshops had been conducted free of cost but due to some reason or the other, the Corporation schools never managed to turn up. And so it was time to reach out to them. The Corporation of Chennai was roped in, and along with the Madras Government Museum and the Government School of Fine Arts, the summer workshop began. Dr. V. Jeyaraj, Curator, Museum said the MTC buses picked up the students from a certain point in the morning and dropped them in the evening. Food and tea were provided and Aavin sponsored the ice creams.Approximately 500 kids turned up for the programme. They were taken in batches of 50 students and were trained for three days. On the first day, the Curators of each department spoke to the children and gave them introductory lectures on their respective departments. Then the children were taken round to all the galleries. While they were observing the artefacts, the children would be attracted to one artefact or a specimen. They would then identify it and do a pencil sketch of it. On the second day they coloured what they had drawn and worked on it with the skills they had learnt. On the final day, they transformed what they had drawn into clay. The lecturers from the Fine Arts College would guide them.Chandrashekeran explained how concentration is necessary for art. Ask a child to observe something and pat comes the answer, "Ah! yes I have observed it." But ask the child to draw what he/she has observed and then watch the difference in the child observing the thing with concentration while drawing it. The mindset of children has become so stagnant that when they are asked to paint something they cannot think beyond cartoon characters, gods, goddesses and two mountains with the sunrise in between. This stereotype should be broken and they must be taught to see beyond this. He went on to say that when children are asked to name flowers, they spontaneously reply, "rose, jasmine," but they cannot name the common flowers they see around the hedges. He explained that they should move from this and draw from life experiences. They should observe life around them. The artist in them must be brought out. And he hoped that this orientation to art would be the first step towards this.