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Art Appreciation with Soumik Majumdar from Santiniketan
October 7, 2012

We appreciate Sanjiv Mirchandani of Indian Ateliers for embracing Bookworm’s work with children and art. Sanjiv first intimated us about Soumik Majumdar, an art historian who works with children to awaken the ability to appreciate art – as art for arts sake as well as, as a part of the human experience.

We liked Soumik immediately. Our own art educator Chetna felt that at last we are hearing someone who understands what we struggle with and who knows the struggles but speaks the language we need to hear.

We also appreciate schools that participated in the session and we believe quite strongly that when teachers are exposed to ways of seeing and thinking, it informs their practice.

As Professor Soumik shared his work and practice with us, we learnt that …

1. Art is also about visual experiences in daily life

2. That standard ways of teaching art are often detrimental to creativity

3. That children surprise us with their creative thoughts which can be captured in the process of practicing art

4. That the teacher needs to facilitate thinking while knowing where the class is headed.

5. Often art is about transcending visual facts and arriving at a pictorial experiences

6. Subject matter may not be the universal interest of all children, keying in to the child’s interest eg deign/patterns and using that to generate subject matter is far more worthwhile than a top- down approach

7. Children have an enormous ability to generate interest about ‘painting’.

8. Process of allowing children to think and giving that space is critical to the whole process of appreciation but also hardest to communicate

9.Art needs to be understood as more than paintings, it includes forms, installations, photographs etc. Children need to see this.

10. Art can be temporal

11. Art for children should be connected to real life, to their experiences

12. Children can be brought to realise that art looks like nature and nature looks like art.

13. Art needs to be understood as more than an end product. The process of art education is about ‘knowing’ and must include dialogue.

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As often happens when we listen to someone who is walking the talk, we want to walk with them and so we are going to spend some energy and garner some resources to bring Soumik back, to start working more effectively towards Art education in schools and in the lives of our children.

Soumik – we appreciate your art appreciation – so, so much!

We would also like to extend our gratitude to International Centre Goa for their unconditional support.

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1 comment

  1. One of the points that struck me was that public art & monuments are vandalised in India and one of the possible reasons cited was lack of art appreciation at the primary level… perhaps schools planning excursions for kids should be encouraged to add an art related dimension to their trip .

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