Art by Children workshops give wings to creativity in children

Kochi, Feb 13:By introducing children to new techniques in art, a slew of workshops organised by Art by Children (ABC),  an outreach initiative of the Kochi Muziris Biennale (KMB) has gradually gained popularity in schools in the state.

Over the past three months there have been three workshops organised for school children at the KMB venues. These include ‘Cuts and Folds’ a paper craft workshop by Arularasan,  a calligraphy workshop by Narayan Bhattathiri and a Batik Painting workshop  a kind of painting practice using wax and dye under the tutelage of Jose Cherian - all held at Aspinwall, one of the main venues of the ongoing Biennale.

“These workshops are aimed at getting children to gain exposure and work with different art mediums apart from conventional art lessons taught in school. They also aim to make the participants work together as a group in a relaxed and fun-filed environment,”  said Manu Joseph, Chief Coordinator, Art By Children.

Arularasan’s ‘Cuts and Folds’ workshop provided children with fresh ideas on paper craft where they were taught to make various shapes, pop up cards and masks using paper. “Children are more creative than elders, so I just kindle them to create without interfering,” said VSD Arularasan, HOD of Painting at the College of Fine Arts, Kumbakonam. The workshop was conducted for children in the age group of 12-13 by the Kochi Biennale Foundation in association with the Art By Children (ABC) initiative.

Calligraphy, a special font of writing was another unique workshop held under the guidance of Narayana Bhattathiri, one of the few practitioners of Malayalam calligraphy. “The first day of the workshop was an introduction to classical writing and on day two, we looked at some complicated tools through which we can bring out the meanings behind calligraphic works,” said Narayana Bhattathiri, a layout artist at Kalakaumidi who now practises calligraphy.

 “It’s always a pleasure to impart knowledge to children especially when the new generation is going further away from their mother tongue,” said Bhattathiri who has a  passion for words,language and its expression.

The workshop was attended by students of Government UP School, Piravom and  other children who registered through open registrations.

Another rigorous workshop on Batik painting concluded two days ago under the guidance of Jose Cherian, an artist from Kovalam.

“Batik is a kind of wax resistant dye painting technique that allows children to play with colours and imagination,” said Cherian.

“As Batik painting involves working with hot wax, boiling and drying, it teaches children to be more cautious and focused while working as hot wax can burn skin and the children were up to the challenge as there was no case of wax spill or skin burn,” said Cherian who trained in the technique  under the renowned artist K. Jayapala Panicker in 1979.

The workshop was attended by 31 students of Kendriya Vidyalaya, Kadavanthara.

“It was a great experience for them to create an art work using different medium and new techniques other than the usual water colours and crayons,” said Jayanthi, art teacher at Kendriya Vidyalaya, Ernakulam.

“The Biennale’s initiative to promote art education among school children through ABC program is really appreciative,” said Jayanthi.

 A ‘Kalam’ Workshop by V P Prabhakaran, Thiruvalla and a Pakshi Kolam (Padayani) Public Performance on February 17-19  and Origami Workshop by Anto,an artist from Thrissur,  on February 25-26 are also scheduled as part of ABC’s ongoing workshop.

The ABC programme has reached out to over 2000 students across 40 schools across the state. It aims to reach 100 schools across all the 14 districts and engage over 5,000 children and school teachers through the artist facilitators until March 2017.


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