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.
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.