Samrakshana Special School visits! by Aditi Nayar

One of the most soul-stirring reviews we got this month was from a student of Samrakshana Special School, S, who said her favourite subject is history and thanked us for the wonderful day she was having at the Museum. The Art Gallery visit had culminated in an impromptu performance in the upstairs gallery with all the children taking turns to sing us their favourite numbers. We were especially happy to see what most people perceive as pristine gallery/white walls being used as a space they felt comfortable enough to relax and sing in.

 Making summery drawings based on Krishen Khanna’s drawing of The Boy with Fruit!

Making summery drawings based on Krishen Khanna’s drawing of The Boy with Fruit!

 Immersed in making mangoes!

Immersed in making mangoes!

When we went over to the Centre for Visual Arts for the painting session though, S, was a little bit apprehensive. I don’t know how to paint, she said. But minutes into the session she was singing in accompaniment to her strokes on the paper.


The ArtWalk for special schools/children begins with a treasure hunt in the Gallery of Contemporary Indian Art at the Kerala Museum. The children look for clues and so begin to discuss the artworks on display. On display at the moment is a show called Collecting the Artist curated by Supriya Menon, with works from the permanent collection of R Madhavan Nayar, founder of the Madhavan Nayar Foundation Charitable Trust. The show is gives a panoramic view of Indian Art and art movements over a span of 100 years.This is  followed by an immersive drawing experience on a large 10 foot by 10 foot canvas that we call "Simple Pleasures" that uses Kristen Khanna's Boy with Fruit (pic and write up attached) as a point of departure. The students are provided crayons for the rendering of their favourite fruit. Fruit is only a suggestion, many children explore other ideas, summer, the colours of the painting etc. Paint tubs and sponge are given to participants to explore texture and technique. There's much play and experimentation and freedom to express oneself without expectations of an outcome.

ArtWalks for kids with special needs is a part of our endeavour to make art/cultural spaces inclusive and accessible to all.

Documentary Theatre in Kochi by Aditi Nayar



with Drama Queen, Anuja Ghosalkar

Documentary Theatre uses materials such as photographs, newspaper articles, interviews, archives, video, letters - about people and real events, as an entry into performance making.

The third in a series of workshops spread over a year, the first was in Bangalore, then Bombay and now Kochi! Open to all we had said, and open to all, it was: we had a doctor, students, actors, story-tellers, a financial advisor, artists, teacher, dancer and creative content writer. Coming from a variety of backgrounds, 12 participants brought to the workshop a diverse range of experiences from their personal lives as well as their practice. Documentary theatre is a method that provides the basis for any creative process and we had our participants bring in letters, certificates, photographs, collected objects, notes and newspaper articles.

Through Anuja’s brilliantly devised series of exercises, documents were shared, text was read in the deconstruction of this very exciting young form of theatre in India. There was much debate about what is “real” and what’s “not real” and does it matter in the telling of a story and especially in the context of documentary theatre, where “verifiable documents” are used in the telling of the story. The voice of the author, the voice of the audience and the voice of verifiable evidence.

We took the tools of documentary theatre and made some incredibly moving, performative pieces, across the disciplines of the visual arts, theatre and performance, audio, video and text.

A big thanks to our fabulous participants who trusted and so willingly gave their energy to the group, each one is a special person! And a big thank you to the one and only Anuja Ghosalkar for pushing us to tease the “little stories” out of our documentary material. She simultaneously pushes the boundaries of traditional theatre as well as her own work, with this series of Documentary Theatre workshops.

Our Dolls featured in the newspapers! by Aditi Nayar

 Dolls Collection at the Kerala Museum

Dolls Collection at the Kerala Museum

The story goes that in the year 2000, Trustee of the Madhavan Nayar Foundation, Brigadier RB Nayar, felt that school children who come to the Kerala Museum would really appreciate an exhibit with dolls.

He shot off a letter to Shankar’s Dolls Museum in New Delhi, requesting assistance in its setting up. They promptly responded by kindly sending us a collection of Dolls of India for the enjoyment of children in Kerala. These beautiful miniatures depict the regional communities in their traditional attire.

Shilpa Nair Anand from the Hindu covers our exhibit in the Hindu, article above, accompanied by these lovely photographs by Thulasi Kakkat