Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS) presents a unique opportunity for children to explore the rich and vast treasure of art objects showcased in the exhibition titled ‘East Meets West: a selection of Asian and European Art from the Tata Collection in CSMVS.
On May 10, 11 and 12, children will be introduced to traditional art forms from the Tata Art Collection like Himalayan Thanka paintings, far eastern style of ceramic painting, Indian handloom fabrics and design through a three-day workshop module. They will be able to create their own unique works of art in all of these styles, using their own imagination to produce individual expression within each art form.
Workshops are being jointly conducted by the museum and The Pomegranate Workshop, a venture which works with the artists in various art forms and develops unique methodologies to introduce the fine arts to children. “The museum has a special department for education, which is one of the most important functions of the institution,” said Prasanna Mangrulkar, assistant curator - education.
He added, “Children at this age are keen on learning about art and history if it is combined with entertainment. This concept is commonly referred to as edutainment today. Such workshops are a combination of play and learn.”
Over the course of the workshop, the children will literally experience history in the making, as they revisit the techniques and materials used in the creative arts down the ages. That’s not all, every session will include a visit to those artefacts of the Tata’s art collection which represents the workshop’s theme.
Deciding the modules
Regarding the selection of the workshops for children in this age group, Priya Srinivasan, director, Pomegranate Workshop explained, “We needed to identify distinct themes associated with the Tata’s collection of artefacts. We also wanted to create modules for children around these themes. We decided to vary the medium in the three workshops, give each session a distinct theme and also make sure that these themes could lend themselves to creative exploration.”
Children are always interested when it comes to creating something. Hence the key idea is to get them involved in the creative process always and then the interest in craft automatically follows. Combining creativity with observation and skill is always central to the Pomegranate Workshops.
The Pomegranate Workshops have been conducting sessions for kids too. Last May, the module was titled ‘History in the Making’ and all sessions revolved around exhibits in the museum. “We had done one module on the ‘chitra kathi’ style of painting, where children sat through a writing session to create their own story with a central character. When they painted this, the facilitator first took them to see various works painted in this style,” added Srinivasan. The museum has conducted similar workshops in the past for children as well as adults. Prasanna Mangrulkar said, “This is a special tribute to the Tata brothers. So this is an academic activity planned by the museum. The children will take a walk in the gallery and watch the authentic articles. They will be sensitised about art and in turn will combine creativity, knowledge and make their own artefacts using their imagination.”