I welcome you all to the new art project at Seb's Project! I have come to volunteer with Seb's through the the UK charity Articulate. I have been here in Tamil Nadu for just over 1 month now, visiting schools, collecting materials and ideas, and setting up art workshops. It's been a busy, challenging, inspiring and productive month.
India bursts with colour, through the landscape, the transport, the music,the people, the buildings, the food. You can spend 5 minutes here and you will see that art is naturally a large part of the culture. But I have noticed that in school, the children are not exposed to expressing themselves with art or creative thinking. This is where I come in. I will be working across all of the schools that Seb's Project is involved with, Kasam, Arni and tribal schools in the Jawadhi hills.
Workshops so far have been both chaotic and exciting. The children working in groups as well as working independently. So far the schools in Kasam, Arni and the schools I have visited in the hills, have been exploring textures and creating leaf collages. Some workshops have also included large body doodles and making hand-print bunting. We have even created a 'Art Room' at Arni!
I have started a graffiti style workshop at the boys hostel in Kasam, we are in the prep and planning stage at the moment. Their ideas have been collected, aprons are being made and the boys have applyed the first paint of coat this week. I think we are all excited to be turning this dark and gloomy space into a bright, happy and colourful environment! The the fact that they have created it themselves is even more exciting.
The number of girls at Arni is in the minority. In a class of about 25 students, only 2 will be girls. Some classes don't have any girls. This strikes me as an important area that needs attention. So once a week I will be taking the girls from 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th grade to have a workshop. Sometimes us ladies need to just spent time together and feel special. Once I have collected the right materials, I hope to make bracelets, decorate bags, tie-dye and even some salt dough.
As I won't be able to make frequent trips up to all of the schools in the hills, at the last monthly staff meeting I gave the teachers the hand print workshop and training, as well as materials to take back to their school. I will be giving a monthly workshop and supplying materials to give the teachers and students something fun to do whilst I'm not there. Already many have held the workshop, which makes me think this is a great sign for any future ideas of regular art workshops in the schools!
It's been a positive experience so far with Seb's Project. The team are inspiring and certain members really shine, Seb's Project is their life. I have a lot of respect for the team and feel really excited to be involved. Hopefully we can all learn from each other.
So watch this space! You can also follow my blog for weekly updates.