Last week,when city-based painters Debu Barve and Raju Deshpande visited Vanadev Primary School at Aghane,near Bhimashankar to conduct a yearly art workshop,the children met the artists with little shyness and hesitancy. However,at the end of the day-long workshop,not only did the children open up and freely participate,but they also managed to create 300 artworks. It was the second year that Barve and Deshpande conducted such a workshop at the residential school which is 150 km from Pune,run by Kusum Karnik and Anand Kapoor through their organisation Shashwat.
We taught them how to use various art materials and how to draw and paint. It turned out to be an art day out for the entire school,which saw participation from the students,the teachers and the support staff,with every one enjoying drawing,painting and sharing creative ideas, says Barve.
Although Barve and Deshpande regularly conduct art workshops and lectures under the name Art Experience for groups of individuals,corporate teams and institutions,the workshop they conduct at Vanadev School is free of cost.
The school houses around 60 students studying in classes I to IV from Mahadev Koli,Thakar and Katkari tribes the communities the organisation Shashwat is working for in the Dimbhe and Bhimashankar area.
The school,says Barve,follows the principle of freedom of expression. There were a couple of students who opted out of the workshop but the teachers did not make it mandatory for them. We incorporated the same principle for our workshop and gave a free hand to the kids so they could explore any subject and paint as they liked, explains Deshpande.
The education coordinator at the school Pratibha Tambe and her team of teachers prefer to work without the guideline of Dos and Donts for the children at the school. So apart from the 300 artworks on the paper,the students also painted the walls,doors and windows of the school. The large canvas was soon filled with graffiti of motifs,birds,flowers and houses. The kids didnt stop at that,they also repainted the portraits of some of the national leaders which were stuck on the classroom walls, recalls 36-year-old Barve.
While the topic Tree was a hit with most of the budding painters,some also chose to paint houses and fish. And there is a reason to this too. The parents of most of the kids are either working with co-operative fishery projects in the backwaters of Dimbhe dam,or at the brick kilns in nearby areas. Most of the imagery is either influenced by the lush green surroundings,or the little decorative houses in the villages,or text books illustrations. The fusion of all these factors could be seen in the depictions of various types of trees,houses,and animals that the kids painted, says Barve,adding that green was just one of the colours the kids used to paint trees in their artworks. A number of creations saw the use of bright vermilion red,magenta,cadmium yellow,ultramarine blue for painting trees.
Finally,all the creations were collected and a long bunting of sorts was created by stapling the 300 plus artworks. The bunting was then hung outside the school as part of the Diwali decorations. At the end of the day the kids ambled around the school admiring their own work and the happiness on their faces was indeed priceless, recalls Barve.