Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Art Workout at Sapphire Heights

On 26th September, we conducted a workshop for children at Sapphire Heights, Kandivali. Following children participated:

[From left: Jeevika, Trishla, Aathira, Shreyas, Jugaad]
The children were of age from 4 to 12 years. Jeevika(4 years) was the youngest among them.
The aim of the workshop was to allow the children to experience freedom with creativity, to allow them to explore their imagination and to enjoy the process of creation. The activities focused on 1) freely exploring the possibility of understanding colours by interacting with them  2) using imagination to expand the creativity.
Following activities were conducted:

Mind Exercise

What happens when someone says a word and you have to immediately say another word impromptu, in response?  It’s stimulating you to think and be quick in responding and at the same time it’s fun and amusing to know you could respond something that came spontaneously. You end up being surprised at yourself and become open and alert.  This exercise was just that. We explained to children that they have to quickly respond with a word. We showed a little demonstration and then started with a word Potato!.. It was immediately picked up by the kids and they started responding quickly.  

Activity 1 - Interaction with colours

Interaction is an exchange of gesture when people meet. As per the characters of people, the gestures they exchange could be different like, talk, laugh, anger and fight, dance, play etc. Similarly can colours have characters? Can colours come alive and play, laugh, dance with each other? Can two colours be angry and fight with each other?  Could children explore colours to know them better? These were the major points behind this activity. While children try exploring the colours and their interaction, they can also realize that they are also interacting with colours and can play with them, can make colours dance or make them fight with each other.
Children were guided to prepare the colours by adding coloured inks and food colours to batter of flour and water. Each created one shade of red, blue, green, yellow and black. The children also had liking towards one particular colour or the other.
In order to make children understand how colours can interact with each other, we showed them some video clips. These clips had animated characters of various colours representing some interactions like dance, fight, talk, quarrel etc. And the most important part was, the interaction shown in each clip was abstract and open to children’s interpretations. The information was not spoon-fed to them, rather it was something that children had to think and understand on their own. And children enjoyed it.
Some interesting observations:
  • Jeevika was surprised to hear that Colours can be alive, and said almost firmly, 'Colours can not be alive'
  • Children said that Colours can have brothers and sisters, for example, red, pink and purple are siblings
  • They were also able to deduce their own meanings and interpretations of colours, Like, Aathira said that Green is stronger than red, Shreyas and others had a different opinion. But they agreed that some colours can be strong, some can be weak.
Interaction with Colours Activity
Children explored their ideas with colours, how colours merged with each other, the effects created because of the movements of hands. We had encouraged them to use their hands too.
Here are the works from the activity:
[Works from Interaction with Colours Activity : First Row: Aathira, Jugaad, Second Row: Trishla, Jeevika, Third Row: Shreyas]
Jugaad wanted to create a face with colours and he also tried creating the first 3 letters of his name with various colours. Jeevika created a car, sun, sky, birds. Aathira was more interested in mixing colours. She tried putting several colours and moved her fingers through the colours. Trishla, was carefully pouring colours on to create interesting designs. Shreyas said later about his work that he created a man fighting with an animal.

Activity 2 - Imagine and Expand

The creativity can flourish with free, limitless imagination. In order to imagine freely, one needs an inspiration, a starting point which can trigger thinking and expanding the idea further. This activity focused on giving the children a trigger/clue (as a small piece of drawing) to imagine and expand the idea. We explained the children that with a small starting point they can imagine and expand it to create a sort of story around the clue.
3 choices of clue drawings were given to them to choose: Picasso’s drawing of an Owl, Picasso’s drawing of a female face, Figure from Edward Munch’s  painting “Scream 

No rules were set except that they could select maximum two clue drawings. Jeevika and Trishla picked two drawings, rest picked the Edward munch’s scream figure. Paints, Crayons, Sketch Pens as well as collage material with glues were provided to them. Children took their time to complete their work. They remained engrossed in working with the paintings, even if the time was up. Jugaad still wanted to paint so we told them to finish it at home.
Here are the works from the activity:
[Imagine Expand Activity: First row: Jugaad, Aathira,  Second Row: Shreyas,Trishla, Third row: Jeevika]
The children relate certain colours to the mood and gestures of the drawings: for example, all the children picked up ‘Scream’ figure and all of them(except Jeevika) have black colour in their painting. They automatically related black colour with the dark mood of that drawing. For some it looked like alien, for some, it portrayed a horror gesture. 

Activity 3 - Paint together

This activity is an effort to allow children to explore their creativity by working together in the group inspiring others and getting inspired in turn.
 On a large piece of paper stuck on the wall, children painted freely by taking turns. These children created beautiful forms of known objects on the paper instead of abstract shapes and free brushstrokes. We allowed them to paint two at time and they were so understanding to give space to the other one. Their work was neat. (So neat that many of them cleaned the brush after finishing their turn) one observation was that the children did not know each other very well. (Like they were not fast friends), if that was the case, the result might have been different.

[Paint Together Activity]

During all three activities, it was observed that these children had subjective (their individual opinion) about colours and Art in general. And if we allow children to develop a subjective/(their own personal) meaning and interpretation with respect to Art, they will be able to be more original and creative.

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