LET'S START ART: NOVEMBER 2018
The month of November started with Diwali holidays and extended till the festival of Chhath (छठ), so the students came back to their schools after a long break full of celebrations and sweets. The first set of Let's Start Art sessions were conducted to make the students document their experience of the festivals. Although we started on 14th November, which is celebrated as Children's Day across India. So, in the first session at Government Primary School, Sonarpura we asked the students to draw what they do to mark the joyous day.
They told us that they organize a small fate on their own where they sell sweets and balloons to each other. And at the end of the day, they collect money to cut a small cake and head back to their places.
Later, in all other schools, the sessions were conducted under the theme of Diwali holidays. The students made drawings of decorated houses, Rangoli (colorful patterns made outside the house), Diwali celebration and Chhath rituals. Around 216 students from 9 schools attended these workshops.
Chhath Pooja is a festival celebrated in the eastern states of India, in which the rituals are performed in natural water bodies like rivers, lakes, and ponds. Some people make a small tub-like reservoir at home, fill it with water and conduct the ceremony in it. Priyam, a student at Government Primary School, Naria has made a drawing of the same.
The second set of workshops started in the last week of November, and we conducted the first session of Let's Start Art at Government Primary School, Nayi Sarak. The school is located in the main market area of old Varanasi, so there was no escape from the hustle-bustle of the market. "Despite infrastructural problems, the students here are hardworking and curious. We have accommodated five classes in one room but the students cooperate with us so each of them can study." said the teacher, when we asked about the unorganized arrangement of classrooms.
In these sessions, we asked the students to draw their playgrounds. Around 344 students from 10 schools attended these workshops.
"Whenever we get time to play in school, my friends and I play Kabaddi", said Karan when we asked him about the games he likes to play. "When we divide teams, they always argue to have me in their team because I am really good at it", he added later, with a proud smile on his face. Karan is a student of class 5th at Govt. Primary School, Sunderpur.
The art sessions at Govt. Primary Schools at Bhadaini, Nagwa, Shivpur, and Orderly Bazaar were conducted by Neelam Gupta (Student Artist) and the sessions at Govt. Primary Schools at Sonarpura, Naria, Nayi Sarak, and Sunderpur were conducted by Ajay Prakash (Student Artist).