Saturday, July 23, 2011

Kondattam it is! - 19/07/11

Art Arattai Aarpattam – Aaattam, Paattam, Kondattam it is!

With the fourth edition of Art Arattai Aarpattam officially underway, every day has been an exciting journey for all of us involved. The schedules have been planned with a lot of care and attention to detail, to ensure that all our little participants had a memorable time, irrespective of what they were doing –whether it was watching one of the movies that had been chosen for screening, or going through any of the lecture-demonstrations that are being conducted over the course of the week. And I’m very glad to say that yes, the children are having a fabulous time, this is as we saw the other day, when we screened two films at the Museum Theatre – the first one was Kavi, a short film made by International Justice Mission, one of our key partners for the festival. The film beautifully captures the simple aspiration that Kavi has – to play cricket. Caught in the age-old evil of bonded labour as his father has borrowed Rs. 10000 from a local brick-kiln owner, Kavi is forced to work with his parents everyday, thereby missing out on school, studies, games – in effect, missing out on his childhood. The film deals with how a couple of rescue workers find out about the kiln owner’s operations and how they rescue Kavi from him.

These are the sort of instances that many of us are aware of and don’t do anything about. Or worse, are not even aware of, in the first place. One of the primary objectives of the NalandaWay Foundation is to ensure that every child gets access to what is his or hers by birth – access to childhood. Needless to say, films like Kavi are instrumental in creating amongst children, awareness that they do not have to succumb to such situations and that help is always there. And in turn, create in these children, the ability to realize it when they see something wrong and where possible, do something about it.

The second film that we screened was Fly Away Home, an extremely heart-warming story about little Amy and how she forms a bond with a gander of geese and her efforts to help them fly from the cold Canadian winter to the warmer US. We are very happy to say that the children thoroughly enjoyed the film that offered insights into various aspects of what children go through at that young age – the bereavement of a child losing her mother in a road accident, the difficulty she has in bonding with her father and his girlfriend, the attempts they make to connect with her, the solace she finds in the geese and how their common aim of helping the birds migrate south build a strong bond between the father and the daughter.

The afternoon session saw Mr. Ilango, one of India’s most celebrated artists, conducting a demonstration for the children, which saw enthused and active participation from the children. Having spoken about various aspects that influence his art, Mr. Ilango highlighted the point that to create an artistic impression of a specific object, one needs to become that object itself, to capture its essence. We are very grateful to him for having illustrated this point so beautifully as he created a painting of the jallikattu right before our eyes in a span of just ten minutes.

The interactive session that followed his demonstration saw many children voicing their opinions and questions, which Mr. Ilango patiently heard out and answered – and to add to the beauty of the moment, two students from Government School, Somamangalam have been offered free coaching courses by Mr. Ilango at his school! The sense of gratification for us, as the organizers, simply can not be put into words. After all, this is what we strive to achieve – to help provide such opportunities for children amongst us, that will help them to create an identity and place for themselves, using art as the medium.

We sincerely believe that the rest of the sessions that we have planned will be equally well-received. And hope that more of you will join us for more aaattam, paattam, kondattam along the way!

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