ONGOING PROJECT IN ANDHRA PRADESH INVOLVING THE CURATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF CREATIVE LABORATORIES FOR CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE AT THE DADDY’S HOME ORPHANAGE IN THE RURAL VILLAGE OF BUDDAVARAM, ANDHRA PRADESH, INDIA. INITIATED IN OCT/NOV 2009.
Some projects we developed this year:
cick on the thumbnails
NOV – DEC 2011 REPORT:
Arts and crafts classes
My classes in Andhra Pradesh have run for 3 years now and this consolidation of knowledge has been extremely satisfying for me and I believe useful for the students who have retained and built on the techniques they have learned in these art labs. Art is vital for the children’s greater education; it is a subject where they are encouraged and even compelled to think for themselves. I am very careful never to have them copy what I do, instead I demonstrate and teach techniques and then they have to elaborate and build upon this using their own imaginations. I believe strongly in challenging the children, I expect a lot from them and they always supersede what they original perceive to be their own capabilities. Classes are kept deliberately small, 10 – 12 students per class to allow time for a one to one teaching ratio that I believe really benefits the students.
Some projects we developed this year:
Each child was given a mirror and encouraged to scrutinise their own faces and to draw from life what they see, the idea being they should reflect a little on their own individual identities as well as developing hand – eye coordination. This is not an easy exercise but the students gained enormous satisfaction by being able to create a visible likeness of themselves and they took a lot of pride in this exercise.
As a counterpoint to all the focus on the individual from the self-portrait exercise, I decided to counterbalance this with a group drawing exercise. Each class was split into groups of 5 and had to select one of the group to lie on a giant sheet of paper and have his or her body shape traced. Then it was a question of filling in the silhouette. The face had to be a portrait of one of them, but the rest, the clothing and the background would have to be invented by the group. The idea of the project was to encourage teamwork and negotiation. They had to make group decisions about what they would draw etc…it also taught them that if they worked together as a team that they could create far more ambitious and elaborate drawings. Again the children took a lot of pride, care and attention in this exercise.
Children were introduced to the art of origami, they had first to create the decorative paper themselves and then they learned various folding techniques in order to create decorative shapes ideal for Christmas decorations. This was particularly satisfying as I noticed the children passing on these techniques and spreading the skills beyond my art classes. Also the technique is very practical as it requires no special or extra materials and can be carried on throughout the year.
Creative Computer Programme classes:
This year I taught 4 different batches of students in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator programmes with students ranging from 4th to 10th class and post school age.
Due to a new school policy of encouraging even the youngest of students to become familiar with computer skills and thanks to the purchase of some powerful new computers by Fondazione Zegna, this year I focused a lot of attention on computer classes. I ran for the first time Photoshop classes for beginners concentrating on the creative nature of these programmes encouraging, as ever, the students to think and create for themselves and not to merely copy or repeat lessons, catching them young with the idea that they can have many years of extra tuition as they progress through their school careers.
Photoshop is actually a valid and extremely vocational skill to be learned for young Indian students. As well as the fact that Andhra Pradesh (or namely Hyderabad) is a centre for information technology, there is also a flourishing industry for Photoshop artists who work in tandem with photographers to create fantasy albums for special events such as wedding ceremonies etc…
Once the students leave school if possible they go to college but after that they are on their own, e it is vital to arm them with as many skills as possible to help them in their adult life. In order to create even more desirable potential employees, I encouraged the older students to be as versatile as possible by learning other graphic programmes such as Adobe Illustrator. The more programmes these kids learn now, the better their CVs for future employment…
HAVE DECIDED TO LEAVE THE “DIARY” ENTRIES BELOW AS THEY SHOW HOW THE PROJECT DEVELOPED ORGANICALLY ADAPTING TO THE SITUATIONS I FOUND MYSELF IN…
Written on the 9th Nov 2009, mid project
Below was written before i actually got to Daddy’s Home, the orphanage run by Care and Share in Andhra Pradesh near the city of Vijayawada. The first thing i learned was that you have to be very flexible working here. So i have adapted my ideas and am fitting in as much as i can within the time frame i have been given. I am NOT teaching 400 children (!!!!) and it seemed pointless to teach kids who were not already keen (the school already teaches art in its syllabus). So i teach 4 different classes and they have lessons every day. Two groups of older kids (13-17 years) and two groups of younger ones (8-12 years). Am giving lessons to the older ones in photography, adobe photoshop and illustrator, while with the younger ones we are drawing and making Christmas decorations. Am also teaching some adults video editing, and fitting anything else i can in between. Am also photographing EVERYTHING.
Initial proposal written on during the summer of 2009, pre project…
I was asked to go to Vijayawada, in the state of Andhra Pradesh (the rice bowl of India) southern India to organise and develop creative laboratories for children. The workshops will take place between 25 Oct – 25 -Nov 2009. There will be 400 children in all!!!
This will be my first time in India and i expect to hit the ground running…i will be working along with Care and Share with children aged 8 – 15. I will post more when i get there (24 October!!) Initially i am there for 1 month, i hope during this time to set in motion some artistic processes and practices that can be sustained by the children long after i am gone, although obviously i hope to return. More info and pictures to follow next week. Below are some of the ideas i proposed for workshops but am completely flexible and fully expect things to change when i get there, this will be an evolving process…
Some initial ideas for the workshops: