Art should be celebrated by people from all sections of society. That’s when the language of arts becomes universal. Recently, around 30 tribal students from a remote village called Ramachandrapuram in the Gummudipoondi Taluk got an opportunity of a lifetime. They were taught acrylic painting by the students of Maisha Studio, run by silambam practitioner-artist Aishwarya Manivannan.
“No matter what the background of the person is, all art deserves an equal platform. I want my students to know that money is not the only way in which we can impact change in other people’s lives. Being designers and artists, I want the students to understand that they have the potential to impact change by engaging with people of different backgrounds and involving them in the creative process. In this case, my students are not giving money, but by sharing their knowledge and skill, they are adding value to the lives of a few underprivileged children,” says Aishwarya.
The paintings made by the children are going to be exhibited along with the students from Maisha Studio at an exhibition titled Outside the lines that will be held in June. “Small acts can lead to a greater good. Even though our workshop was for 30 children from Gummudipoondi, when we donate the money raised from the sale of paintings, we are going to help run the education center for three years. This will impact hundreds of children in that neighbourhood. The participating children will also get a sense that they are capable of impacting change as well,” hopes the artist.
To organise the workshop, Aishwarya and team collaborated with the NGO, Sevai Karangal, run by Thilak Raj. The NGO has set up an education center at Ramachandrapuram to increase the employability of the children. “We have selected 20 villages from Thiruvalluvar and Kanchipuram districts and are encouraging them to be sustainable and help them develop socially and economically. We are providing creative workshops and programmes that would enhance their academics.
Instead of getting funds from outsiders to run our education centre, we thought why not the students can raise the money with their talent. So when Aishwarya approached us with the project, we were more than happy to collaborate,” says Thilak.
A student of Maisha Studio, Nirali Shah was quite excited about the workshop. “It was fascinating to see how quickly the children picked up the techniques. They, in turn, taught me interesting ways to develop the paintings, which was quite a joyous moment for me. This workshop has been a very positive experience and the bunch of talented kids taught me that happiness is a state of mind, and can be achieved from the smallest of things,” she says.