With an intention to break the social gap through creativity, Dr Kaustav Sengupta and his wife Lily, who have been working with 15 children from the Kannagi Nagar tsunami settlement, are conducting an art workshop for them.
“We wanted to create a more humane world. Rather than just giving art training to the students, we decided to make it a collaborative awareness initiative. We have collaborated with HLC International School for this program. For the past year, we have been teaching art to 15 children from Kannagi Nagar and 60 children from HLC International School,” says Kaustav Sengupta.
Apart from bridging the social gap and providing empowerment to the less privileged and vulnerable children of Kannagi Nagar, this initiative helped in creating empathy towards the downtrodden section of the society. The husband-wife duo wanted to portray Art at Heart as a model that every school in Chennai can emulate.
“This works in two ways — children from privileged and less privileged background get benefited from this. We started off the program with basic lessons in art during weekends. Initially, we were worried if Kannagi Nagar children and the HLC International School children will mingle with each other. By the end of the program, students became so close to each other; they are like a family now,” says Lily.
During the art program, Lily noticed that many of the children were hyperactive and impatient. “They were so restless and it was tough for us to teach them. But after a few sessions, they started focussing on the painting and we could notice changes in their behaviour,” she adds.
Through Art at Heart initiative, the duo also promotes the idea of Right to Creative Education (RTCA) in all domains of education. “Like the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, there should also be a right to creative education. We don’t know about their skills and talents. Only when we closely work with the children we get to know their talent. Since we both are into the art field, we know that it can bring out leadership qualities among these students,” Kaustav tells us.