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MADRAS DAY: This educator uses words to illustrate the city’s rich history
As our city celebrates its 381st birthday on August 22, Jinka Robinson, an education innovator, has written the history of Madras in a method called icono-writing.
For this, he has selected five iconic features of erstwhile Madras and wrote the history on the background of the picture. “Like any other city, Madras too has an interesting history of how it was formed. Many in today’s generation are lazy to open the literature and read about our past. I thought to share the history of Madras in a more interesting format. I selected five important features of the city, sketched it on a paper and then wrote the history on the background of the images,” Jinka tells DT Next.
He completed the work in two weeks by writing daily for 8 to 12 hours. “While looking at a picture our observation always falls on the foreground area. In the photographic analysis, it is called a positive area or information area. Usually, we don’t focus on the background of the image and it is called the non-information area. I thought about why to waste that space and make the total area of the picture informative — the space can be used to describe the foreground area of the picture. That’s how I developed a new teaching method called icono-write. Instead of just looking at the picture, you can ‘read the picture’ in this format. As they say, every picture tells a story and in this, it definitely tells a story,” he explains.
An education innovator, Jinka frequently visits the Connemara Library to collect information. “During one such trip, I researched the history of Madras and collected some information. Later, I developed it into handwritten artwork. I have been studying and researching about innovative teaching practices and have concluded that icono-writing is an observational science. I strongly suggest that we should incorporate this into our education system. If a child is introduced into this art form, he/she is learning to write and also draw an image. For eg, if a student wants to learn about Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, he/ she can draw Kalam’s image and then write about him inside or outside of the image. Here, art is connected with learning other skills. Not only children, everyone can practice icono-writing. This will also help in bringing back the writing habit,” Jinka notes.