There was once a city where there were a lot of artists. In fact, in the past, colour and art were really important in the people's daily life. Over time, sadly, the art faded from their lives, and the children there did not know that there was so much art around them. At school, they drew the same triangular mountains with a stream flowing down into a plain with fields, a house and some trees.
The artists also felt that the city no longer thought about their art. Art had become a souvenir for tourists; it was no longer the result of thought and hard work of an artist.
One brave artist opened a gallery; this became the meeting ground for people who wanted to change the view of art in the city. We ran a small camp with established and young artists to get our own team connected to art, and this in turn opened the door for more camps with kids!
Everyone asked how these camps would help children get the marks to become engineers or doctors. We had no ready answer other than, ‘the children really enjoyed the camps’. Over the days the children started drawing their thoughts and emotions. The children’s work was the answer to the parents' doubts. Children were now thinking and expressing their thoughts.
Some time passed when one day, Shahid, one of the artists, said, “Taare Zameen Par has been nominated for the Oscars and I want our children to send a message supporting it. Let's get them to paint 1000m of cloth. This can be displayed on Fateh Sagar ki Paal.” The scale of the project was amazing; daunting too. But something said it would work. And wow, did it work, the result was amazing.
A few years later, Shahid sent a message, “kuchch karate hein”.
I asked, “kya idea hai is baar?”
He said, “lakdi ki kathi ko le kar kuchch karte hein”.
I said, “theek hai”.
This led to the Secure campus being flooded with kids and their art being displayed at Manek Chowk, City Palace and at Fateh Sagar ki Paal.
Life caught up and we hadn’t done anything for a couple of years. It felt odd, as if something was missing. It was around this time that Choyal sb said, “Why don’t we have a series of talks on understanding art?” We discussed and debated the idea and thought, “Maybe the people of Udaipur would like to hear about art from those who have studied it in depth?”
The lecture series has been good. I think the next opportunity is to ask the children of the city if they want to learn about art and invite them to the lectures too.
Why do we do it?
- Art is a powerful form of expression and communication
- Art connects different people
- Art allows us to explore new sides of ourselves, of other people, and of the world
- Art is fun. And beautiful.
What do we do?
- Run art camps for children
- Bring art experts to build awareness and appreciation of art
- Run art camps for local and foreign artists