I go shopping in Vijayawada with 2 friends who work in the orphanage. Zakeera is Muslim but often wears “regular” clothing; jeans and a punjabi top but sometimes she likes to cover up. It is a very strange sensation to spend the day with someone whose whole face (minus the eyes) is covered up and i find myself losing a lot of subtle comprehension with her facial expressions hidden. Chandra was an orphanage kid. She started out in a hostel in Vijayawada and now is working in the office of the orphanage in Buddawaram. She is waiting to go to college and to eventually get a job in tourism.
The Saris are beautiful…60 gram silks and gossamer light, they are expensive by India standards…3500 rupees (more than €50) and way beyond my budget. I allow myself €100 per month. Actually you can buy very nice saris for 400 or 500 rupees or less… guess the girls have been saving up as wages are low. When women buy here its a serious business i have watched them have 100’s of saris displayed before walking away purchasing nothing…not easy to be a salesman here…The frocks are also for very special occasions and are also an eye watering 3500 rupees!!!
I give the kids a small mirror each and ask them to make a drawing of themselves. Last year i asked them to do so from memory and i wanted to see how different it would be if they actually had to scrutinise their own faces for any length of time.
Firstly they really enjoyed it, both the girls and the boys really looked at themselves closely and visibly liked looking at their expressions. Life is so communal here that there is not much time for the self i guess. The results were really great. I particularly liked it when they managed to make accurate likenesses while still adding a little fantasy. Sai for example (whom i have taught for 3 years now) did this amazing Julian Opie style drawing and gave himself blonde hair and blue eyes…
Satin gave us a touch of the Simpsons i think…
I know the kids have seen the twilight movies and am wondering in Anthony was somewhat influenced by the aesthetic!… There are so many more to show, will have them all in the site eventually.
Finally after 3 years of trying, i managed to catch someone actually drawing a kolam (Hindu welcome drawing). I found this young girl just beginning at 6am in the village of Buddavaram just outside the orphanage on an early morning walk. She is using rice flower to draw with…looks so easy, i tried…it’s not!
for more kolams see my flickr page
They take school assemble pretty seriously around these parts…
morning assembly classes 1-5…no dodgy saluting, they just have to stand at arm’s length from one another!
Meanwhile inside… as promised is some work from my classes at Butterfly Hill – speaks for itself i think, click on the thumbnails for a better view: