Project impART is an initiative by Artist At Work Productions to assist underprivileged children with workshops on art, craft, dance, music and other forms of creativity. We look forward to the numerous young lives that we can touch and influence through the medium of art. Project impART has spread its wings in six shelter homes in Delhi and Pune, teaching more than 400 students within just a year. This is hopefully the starting to many, many more great memories in the making.
“impART is a feeling which comes to you when you see a smile on a child’s face, impART is an expression to say that art has no boundaries, impART is an impression which one leaves on the hearts of hundreds of children, impART is a body whose soul lies with each and every member who makes it what it is today.”
– Chirutha Kalra (Project Head, impART)
Here are a few articles from our team members about their experiences and how impART has affected their lives.
Look Out Folks, impART Is Here!
impART, an endeavor by Artist at Work Productions is an attempt by us, the children who belong to the privileged sections of society, to bring in innocence and happiness in the lives of those children who have suffered in luck and in life.
Determined to take up a challenge of teaching these children few lessons in art, craft and music while imparting happiness in their lives we left for Killkari Rainbow Home for girls on the 16th of April, 2014. We
at AAW were thrilled about our first project under impART which was in collaboration with Delhi Food Walks, at the Killkari Rainbow Home, Kashmere Gate. The shelter home was tucked cozily in one of the many alleys of Kashmere Gate, hidden in the canopy of dilapidated buildings. Upon arrival, after a brief discussion among ourselves, began the interactive session with the kids. We intended to open the doors of creativity wide open for children, and we are proud to say that we were successful in doing so!
The children were an exciting bunch of mixed emotions – some quiet and shy, other loud and exuberant, but all displaying equal enthusiasm and energy. There were aspiring lawyers, doctors and yes, even singers and artists among them. Being in the Core Creatives of Art and Craft, I worked along with my fellow members and taught craft to the girls.
The sincere concentration and plaintive doubts of the children while they were busy at work really had a
profound impact on me. impART actually gives to us perhaps as much we give to those children. It makes us connect once again to those simple and innocent pleasures of life. By the time our session ended, they were eagerly inquiring about our next session with them and expressed hopes of learning drawing and painting too.
By the end of the first session, I saw a similar contentment on the faces of my fellow members for, we all had experienced the joy of touching young lives, and spreading the message and passion of AAW to one and all!
– Parvathi Preethan
The Joy Of Living
“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
– Shel Silverstein
‘Kilkari’ and ‘Umeed’, literally mean the sound of joy and hope respectively, which is what we aim to bring to the lives of the unprivileged children. On visiting these residential shelter homes through the initiative of ‘impART, I realized that here, the cacophony of the past atrocities is transformed into the harmony of the present reality. The facility of the shelter home provides a ‘home’ to the kids who have been abandoned or otherwise exploited and aims at empowering hearts and minds of the ’family’ members. The red-stoned building in Kashmiri Gate-Kilkari Rainbow Home for girls and Umeed Aman Ghar for boys near Qutub Minar presented to me a new New Delhi where the kids escape the ordinary shackles of life in the city.
I started working with The Artist at Work Productions in June 2014 and was fascinated by the idea behind the project ‘impART’ which provides the freedom of artistic expression and creativity. ‘AAW’ looked at art as not a thing but a way to bring in a difference in the social reality of many individuals. On my very first visit, I realized that every day, a kid joins the world of dreamers and the inhabitants soon would be the ‘dancing stars’ breaking apart the chaos of the world. Their shelter home became my home too where I learnt the joy of living.
Creativity is not constrained by the normative ideology of the society. Hence, the project ‘impART’ deconstructs the traditional education system giving way to a modern system where art is institutionalised whereby the children live out loud. In the end, “Children must be taught how to think, and not what to think”.
The sessions of ‘impART’ at ‘Kilkari’ and ‘Umeed’ incorporated an interactive environment revealing the potential of these individuals. The session included workshops regarding music, dance and art. It was revitalising to note the enthusiasm of the children to explore and cater to the artistic genius hidden within them. The musical introduction session conducted by Shymak Lamba, the director of music, set in the rhythm for the workshops which resulted in bringing art to light and making children smile. It was an experience where thoughts indeed became things and children could see themselves in the art they just created. Sharvi Yadav, a member of the music team came across a mentally handicapped girl who could not remember words but was keen to learn music. This is the microcosmic effect of art in life. Moreover, delightful relationships among the children and the team of ‘impART’ were built which were the new building blocks in the family of ‘Kilkari and ‘Umeed’. The session blended the binaries between life and art in order to form an alliance where art is inseparable from life.
I saw the idea behind the set up of ‘impART’ being converted into a reality which eradicated the crudeness of everyday life. The hours dedicated in Kilkari and Umeed maximised the hope for a bright and colourful future awaiting for these children leaving the shades of mere black and white in the past.
I hope that the lives of these kids remain coloured in the music of life itself.
– Mansee Kakkar
Aasra Home for Boys
The children at Aasra Home for Boys run by Salaam Baalak Trust, Paharganj, paint a picture of a growing, large and beautiful tree. With individual minds which comprehend situations with no less understanding than a fully-grown adult, the children are an image of a blanket of harmonious unity over the non-uniformity that comes along with a nurturing yet independent environment during childhood.
The session conducted by impART began with casual conversations between the artists and the boys, many of whom knew each other from previous sessions. Contrary to the usual image of young children wreaking havoc as soon as they had the chance, all that was needed to make the boys at Aasra Home sit down was a simple introduction from the team. The boys had shifted to a new building, just a few buildings away from the previous centre, and most of the children liked the new place. There was an instant urge to adapt to new situations in the children, especially the ones who had been living at the Home for some time. For many, this was fueled by knowing that they would be restored back with their families soon, and were ready to learn as much as possible in the time they had; others had simply found brothers in the Home. But, there was a small number which consisted of children who had just arrived at the Home, which started the session with a disturbed look on their faces and a longing to get out. However, this had changed by the end of the session.
The art and craft session involved learning how to make carry bags out of newspapers, and the older children were just as much interested to be a part of the session as the younger ones. The children formed groups on their own in order to stick their heads together for the workshop, while some of the newer boys at the home sat alone, talking to the artists. One of these new children, with his entire focus upon making the carry bag, talked about how he had just made a friend in the shelter home with the means of this session, and how he still liked it better at home. After this question, which had acted as a distraction from work he seemed to enjoy, he got back to sticking glue over newspapers in order to turn it into a bag.
Later, the children painted the bags they had made, which suddenly took away the silence of a classroom and brought in the sense of a playground into the room. The children used thumb-painting to make flowers on their bags; some drew entire fields with their fingers. Some chose to write the initials of their name on the bag, others turned it into a canvas and painted huts, stars, shapes out of their imagination, and gave it the final finish with glitter. Some helped each other paint; some waved the bags they had made almost entirely on their own into the air in order to show it off to their peers.
What had begun, for them, as perhaps just another class in their long but untiringly interesting milieu of curricular subjects had turned into a way to out pour their young imaginations on to mere pages of old newspapers as soon as the colors were brought in.
– Ishita Pasricha
Ummeed Aman Ghar for Boys
The general idea about a shelter home is to give a place to live to “lost” children – children who are homeless or with no families and have no place to live or a protective environment. This idea paints a dire perspective of the mental and emotional state of these children in the minds of those who think about a shelter home as an institution, but the boys at Ummeed Aman Ghar break all of these notions right away.
The boys at the shelter home, which is located near Qutub Minar, do justice to its name, “Ummeed”, which means “hope”. The energy, liveliness and vigor of the young children inside the home seem to reflect out into the loud, busy and green streets that surround it. Upon entering the classroom, the first impression is the same as that which would normally be formed upon entering any classroom full of boys aged six to fourteen; boys trying to roll around in order to perform impressive stunts, some trying to write and draw on any flat surface they can find, and some younger ones dancing and singing songs they do not know the words of. The energy of the room is found to be pumped up to the roof, and to take it a notch higher, the impART session begins with an energizer, a first for all time, in order to engage the children and make sure they find this session different than the others. As the instructor sings out a poem, the boys make sure they follow up by copying each word, tone and expression that the instructor makes. Seeking out something to laugh at even with this, the boys keep on doing the same long after the instructor has finished the poem.
However, the poem succeeds in catching the wild imaginations and attention of the boys and focusing it upon the activity. The boys are divided into groups of four to six, each group assigned to different artists, many of whom have been working with Ummeed Aman Ghar since over a year. The children leave the chalks they were coloring the walls and floor white with, and eagerly hold up paint brushes and cotton in their hands in order to spill out their colored thoughts. The activity for this session is making caterpillars out of rows of egg-crates made of cardboard, which the artists provide them with.
Once handed the required material, there is no way of stopping the boys. They paint the caterpillars red, blue, yellow, and all the colors they can get their hands around; no one sticks just to the natural green for the caterpillars. They use straws to make antennas in the heads of the caterpillars, and some of them even decorate it with cotton. As their hands work on this, their mouths eagerly spill out stories about their trip to an amusement water park just the day before. Their eyes widen as they talk about the fear of the huge rides, and the excitement of swimming in water that came up to their neck. Once they begin, their minds full of stories waiting to come out paint an unexpected picture of childhood joy just as they finish with their artwork. They jump from one story to another, and the excitement level of the room remains just as high until the end of the activity.
By the end of the session, it gets perhaps difficult to part with the children, but they show no signs of feeling bad at all. They wait for the next session to take place, and when a boy is asked why he loves sessions with impART more than the rest, he answers, “It is because they let me do whatever I want”.
– Ishita Pasricha