To reawaken the ‘artist’ in us
From product to process- From known to unknown- From teaching to awakening.
Art as a means to awaken the aesthetic sensibilities and connect to the organic order inherent in life
Art as a cognitive tool to understand the world and integrate sensing, feeling, knowing….
All children are born artists and scientists but as we go through the present education the artistic nature in almost every child is numbed. In the modern context from where the present schooling emerges from there was no division between artist and scientist. If we take examples of people like Leonardo da Vinci etc they had both qualities. The division of art took place as late as the 18th century.
Reimagining art- Merging art and science
The starting point of art and science, in fact, all knowledge is the same. Both starts with observation and the content of both are the real world. However, in the present context, in either case, the ‘process’ is forgotten which is really about developing the observation skills. The observation of the HOW is different from observation of the WHY and this is what differentiates the scientist from the artist. But, both will have to observe the WHAT. So, in order to enhance observation, all forms of art can be used- drawing, coloring, making, acting, etc. Even to develop true artistic abilities it is the process that needs to be addressed.
The awakened sense is the basis for all art forms. All TRUE art is a result of direct experience. It is not the skill that differentiates artist from non-artists but the ability to sensitively experience the world around. That is, all of them are deeply and sensitively able to perceive what is happening and also see it objectively. But the focus on teaching doesn’t allow this direct experience and development of the authentic process. Rather than teaching skills to sing, paint, draw, etc what needs to be done is to awaken the sense- to see, to hear, to observe, to feel, to touch, to move…
The awakened sense is ALSO the basis for connecting with the world, to know the world, to be the world. Senses establish our connection with the world around us. In that sense for knowing and feeling the same tools are used. In this process, where there is no fragmentation our aesthetic and cognitive structures are awakened and developed as one integral process.
The following is the shift that is required to develop the basic ability to observe, to develop creativity, and to be open.
From teaching to awakening- Development of self-initiative and self-exploration
The act of teaching denies children their authentic use of senses and the development of finer qualities and sensibilities that gets awakened in the process of direct engagement with life around. Creating conditions for enabling children to learn on their own helps children develop qualities and abilities that make them totally self-reliant. The authentic and rooted sense of beauty can only be awakened by letting children explore various attributes (color, shape, form, texture, symmetry in nature pattern, geometry, lines, smell, taste, growth, light) of NATURE. For nature, one need not go to any tourists spot but even a single blade of grass is capable of awakening beauty in us provided we have the eyes to perceive. this means the content has to move from readymade book to nature and from the classroom to the real world outside. More importantly, the adult also has to become a co-participant in observation and learning.
From product to process- Development of learning ability and qualities
If we were to focus on the ‘process’ of making art rather than teaching the skills to do art, children would acquire qualities related to observation — seeing- develops patience and also interest, makes them present and hence meditative. In such an approach all the participants are directly connecting with various aspects of nature, establishing one to one relationships with the beauty around. In this case, all the senses are also involved. Of course, seeing is the most important activity that gets connected to nature but all other senses also begin to sharpen as when one senses is activated other senses also get awakened.
From known to unknown- Development of creativity and confidence with uncertainty
Readymade and categorized notions deny us to be in the realm of the unknown, to wonder, to hold doubts, to explore, etc. Only being in the unknown can help us to develop and fine-tune creativity and sensitivity. Creativity is the ability that can function when faced with the unknown and sensitivity is the ability to know without the help of language. Secondly, art is held within the classroom, usually by an artist or by using the readymade books that children need to fill up, extra. If all activities are held outside the classroom children can directly connect with nature. This kind of ‘art’ does not require a certified ‘artist’ and any non-interfering adult would be fine to initiate this process. Anything that is natural around is worthy of attention and observation.
OBJECTIVES OF THE ART WORKSHOP
To extend the idea of art into an opportunity for sensing, feeling, and knowing the world, thereby re-rooting oneself to the world.
To open up the cognitive potential of drawing to observe, analyze, abstract, and articulate the way the world appears to children
To encourage ‘teachers’ to be learning with children and to help them to self reflect and question the way instructions are given to children and to question the consequence of teaching and hierarchy
To explore various aspects of nature that are also elements that awaken the sense of beauty like color, lines, texture, forms, shape, light, movement, patterns, geometry, etc.
Drawing, coloring, making…….
Drawing as a means to observe the real world around, drawing as a means to recollect spaces, drawing as a means to recollect events/ festivals/, Drawing as a means to recollect activities, drawing as a means to recollect one’s own life
Coloring for observing and exploring colors in nature. How color changes (various stages of growth, color interaction, etc.), how color transforms, transition or shades of color
Making- with clay — Recreating the three-dimensional world.
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