A month after it opened an ‘art room’ that fosters talent and skills in drawing and painting, the Kochi Biennale Foundation (KBF) is exhibiting a select collection of works from the workshops it has been organising amid the 108-day contemporary art festival.
The January 17-18 show is the first in a series of more such events to come in the days till the end of the biennale in March 29 and beyond, organisers said. The debut edition of the memorabilia at Fort Kochi’s Cabral Yard venue features an array of pictures the art room children did based on the narrations of histories and tales they heard from two sessions in the past month. One, by Gond artists Subhash Singh Vyam and his son Man Singh Vyam from Bhopal, and the other by young Malayali artist Hariprasad R who is involved with public art projects.
More such exhibitions will follow, according to Blaise Joseph, who heads the ABC (Art By Children) programme of the KBF which has conceived the art room. “Also, we will soon commence a travelling exhibition in schools. These pictures will be on display in that endeavor,” he said.
Last month, when the Vyams narrated mythological tales their ancestors had passed down through generations as members of central India’s Gond tribe, the children could imagine the visuals which they sought to portray on cloth. Then, last week, another batch of students got to know more about the folklore of ‘Kappiri Muthappan’, the cigar-smoking African character mythically immortalized in Fort Kochi. That was when young Kochiite Hariprasad R led a three-day workshop that ended on January 13.
In both the sessions, the children drew images based on the stories they heard. Also they were encouraged to draw and paint images related to their own stories. At the art room now, all of these have been put on display in two ways: on the walls and as compiled into books.
The memorabilia come from not just the Cabral Yard workshops. For three days from December 28, Hariprasad had led a workshop at Gothuruthu, 40 km northwest of Kochi. The heritage village is known for its unique stories that came up in public memory yet again after the August floods that had ravaged its life. Around 20 children participated in that workshop. The pictures they drew had been compiled into two books, titled ‘Pralayam Thanna Bhagyam’.
The Vyams too had conducted a three-day workshop at in an Adivasi belt of east-central Kerala this month. Students at the Pre-Matric Hostel for Tribals at Vettilappara near Chalakkudy in Thrissur district benefited from the training held in January 7-9.
KBF’s ‘Art room’ under the ABC has been running alongside the ongoing fourth edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale being organised by the KBF for 108 days from December 12. The programme, which aims at an inclusive approach to art education, has currently included 10 select schools in Ernakulam, Alappuzha and Thrissur districts towards the implementation of art rooms.