Developing a close relationship with not only each child but also the class as a social organism, is something I have learnt to focus on. It has meant becoming very aware of the means to enable collaborative art practices for myself.
The significance of storytelling, sharing experiences or observations built upon storytelling at an early age provide strong foundations and makes learning a tangible and interactive activity. This is one way for me to engage their entire beings through experience and imagination.
In the last week of my month-long stay in Goa I began to notice how every child was making connections with each other’s visual sensibilities and finding a rhythm of working collaboratively.
The studio was now ready for an intervention. Drawing lines and connecting the dots to all our explorations made over the previous weeks, I proposed that both batches of children aged 2.5 to 5 and 5 to 12 respectively, come together to work on a single large canvas.
Layer by layer, wash-by-wash, they added textures, objects patterns, sometimes removed pigment, they built a simple rhythm and movement in collectively creating a piece of work together.
Collaborations bring a sense of togetherness and joy to the learning experience. It especially thrills me to see children actively appreciating each other’s efforts, and to see that appreciation grow over the weeks of going through the process of working together and making discoveries along the way.
I stepped back, watching this process and saw each one of the children play a role in making selective decisions for the canvas that they worked on together, over a period of one week.
The morning batch would come in and work on it with some guidance following with the batch in the evening come in to see the progress made and took over seamlessly, to add the next layer of elements.
This has been the most exciting process for me. This work was a coming together of all the collected memories from nature and stories shared over the month, along with the studied observation from our studio nature table. The progression of not just the elements we brought in to the work, but the synergy in terms of collaboration, and the result – the finished canvas — was mesmerizing to watch and left me feeling so full of emotion.
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