Tuesday, July 13, 2010

India's Next Top Artist

Last week I checked out an art exhibit organized by Nipun's aunt Shetal Chokshi (she looks so much like Harshida Aunty!). She runs a school called Decent where children practice painting and drawing. The goal of the school is to 'unleash the artist within', which it has been doing for the past 18 years. Kids come to her as young as 4 and 5 and she teaches them art and expression, and by the time they're 14 or 15 an exceptionally high percentage are award-winning artists (the girl pictured below's parents showed me a gold medal prize she won from a competition in Eastern Europe).

The exhibition, 'Creations 2010', was held in a hot but spacious room with all white walls. Each student had a portion of wallspace where they displayed 4-6 pieces. Each artist stood in front of their work and mostly received praise from passing patrons, but also answered questions, etc.. Some held little books for writing comments.

The drawings were absolutely incredible. The first thing that stood out to me was the use of color. Such vibrant color. The students experimented with various mediums, one being crayon. It reminded me how awesome crayons are, why don't more artists draw with them?

The second thing that stood out was the imagination of the artists. The kids demonstrated a vast range from explicit, concrete imagery to abstract and even devotional art. Some of the scenes really brought you back to childhood, both in terms of what we used to do (play tag, dance, do mischief) and how we used to think and see the world. Madhu remarked how looking at the art made him feel the urge to take up drawing again, which is a pretty high compliment. I told Madhu and Nipun how I was in awe of how such beauty and raw creativity came from all those little hands. In contrast I look at my hands and all that comes out is code (though I do believe there is poetry in well-written code).

Below are some of my favorite works. These two are so playful and colorful, they brought me back to how I saw the world when I was a kid:

These both are so intricate, I love the top one which I thought was a social commentary on industrialization in India. From a 13-year-old!:

I love this one for the breathtaking expression on the face of the girl. How such a young person could capture that I have no idea:

And finally this one, which just seems fantastically clever coming from a 9-year-old:

1 comment:

  1. wow! i'm inspired to draw, color, and paint!