The Process of making, creating, sharing and learning seems like an endless journey. However in this process its equally important and crucial for the person in the journey to step away from the studio as a making lab and bring to a finish his or her own work.
I had an opportunity to host Drawing Room’s 2nd Open-Studio (the first one was a culmination of two years working with a group of children in Mumbai) for a host of kids and their friends and family and of course a whole lot of my friends and family who have supported all of my endeavors. On the 31st of March 2019 my studio space held its very first open studio a display to share all the work done by a group of homeschooled children from the city.
Over the past two years in Bangalore I was lucky to have engaged with a group of 4 boys who brought to the studio a lot of energy with their humor, challenging questions and outlandish ideas of the real world and others. Two of the boys from the group were shifting cities, so I took this as an opportunity to work with them towards an open studio, for them to get an experience in looking back at all they had created and experimented with, conceptually and with various media. This was also a chance to look at their growth as individuals and as a group, to also ask and figure out various ways of sharing and displaying all this to an audience. It required condensing ideas and making sense of the activities and processes we worked on, and gave us the opportunity to come together, recognize what each one of us has discovered, learnt, our takeaways as well as what we’ve let go of.
Leading up to the Open Studio we had to think of how and what we would be sharing with our audience and this as a process allowed for the kids to distance themselves from their pieces and look at it in a new light, to make choices of whether or not they should mount the work, or frame it? Where and how they would display it? Some of them felt a lot more attached to works that they had produced at this point rather than when they made the work.
This was an extremely exciting process for me to revisit since the last time I went through this process was for my last show in 2013, and before that at art school.
Why the Title: Here We Are
I’ve long been inspired by Oliver Jeffers’ best seller Here We Are, by how the book is a simple pictorial break-down of the world as we see it. As a functional land of so many different people, animals, and numerous parts of nature that coexist, This inspired me to share this as an idea and means to explore narratives and picture making within my studio sessions across Bangalore, Mumbai and Goa, over the past 2 years.
Our world can be a bewildering and fascinating place within which we tell stories – some fictional, some real, some imagined, some created. Here We Are is an on-going project, which will develop differently for each child, over time, based on his or her interest in various things in their environment; the spaces they live in and everything they observe.
This I felt was an entry into our relation to tying up of all the work produced over the course of 2 years and become the underlying theme to the open studio. That carried the work out for our viewers to engage with keeping in mind this place of learning and exploring through stories told.
I hope the kids took away from it the gifts sharing freely and fearlessly. As this became a marking for me in my journey with them.