I have been part of Artreach Volunteer Residency in 2016. It was a three-day workshop with the girls from Tara Home for Children. Depicting self through portraiture and figure drawing, the interaction encouraged the children to playfully express themselves without the pressure of doing something right or wrong. It questioned the vast gap between the visualization normalized by mass media and what we experience in our immediate surrounding. Working individually and in groups, it fostered interpersonal skills and acceptance of each other.
In 2018 and 2019, I again collaborated with Artreach India for their Artroom Programme. This programme focusses on honing the artistic skills of young adults from different care homes of Delhi-NCR. Most of them have prior experience of learning art from the Teaching Fellowship workshop series at Artreach and want to find out more about diverse creative careers. In one of the sessions, the participants explored drawing human figures from observation. Using that experience they then created figurative compositions. Encouraging the young learners to observe the body and its language in everyday situations subtly made them more accepting of who they are. The exercise transformed their drawings into a unique expression of their own. It helped them overcome the strong influence of stereotypical images from the mass media. Their sense of proportion, structure and rendering evolved a lot.
In another session, they tried making picture compositions using a viewfinder. Looking at their surrounding through an eye-window made their observations more intense. It led them towards seeing and thinking in terms of line, form, far and near and negative-positive space. It was exciting for the young learners to see how each one of them had a different arrangement (composition) of the same room that they were working in. Perspective or ways of seeing became important as the narrative in their work changed according to the part they viewed through the eye window.