Young student-artists claim KNMA's galleries, show diverse works



In a bid to place art and aesthetics as inseparable to life, painted and crafted artworks of student-artists aged 9-12, came out of the classroom to adorn the galleries of the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (KNMA) here.

"Amidst The Stars", a two-day group exhibition where 53 young students of Noida's Shiv Nadar School took part, opened at the KNMA here on Thursday evening.

The walls of KNMA, one of the biggest patrons of art in India, stood full of colourful canvases. They spoke of stories that were once in children's minds but found a creative form through media like paint, wood, wool, clay and tissue.

But the works are not all. They were accompanied by brief notes from the student-artists themselves that give insight into their association with arts.

"When I work with clay I feel like an architect"; "I really enjoyed changing a clay ball into an animal"; "I like art because we get to think new things"; are all examples of children's testimonies to their innovative works.

Breaking the notion of arts being just a co-curricular activity, the exhibition not just fosters a sense of creativity essential to life, but allows young students to foray into arts with some seriousness as they are encouraged to open their works to an outsider's scrutiny.

Maulika Gupta, a Class 5 student at the school, proudly exhibited her painting that drew inspiration from "solar activities" and the universe among the "huge mighty stars".

"(Through art) we can express ourselves and go for our imagination. While doing this painting, I imagined the colours and darkness of the solar activities," Gupta told IANS, adding that it is her dream to become an artist.

Selected from a pool of over 500 submissions, the exhibited works were subjected to a set of selection criteria: "A clear central idea, certain technical things like positioning, neatness but most importantly meaningfulness", the School's arts coordinator Manjima Chatterjee told IANS.

Another student-artist, Vriddhi, showcased a resplendent piece which even enters the world of the abstract.

"I took one-two hours to make it, and used a sponge to create the sky with light purple and blue acrylic colours and then mixed them," she explained, amid the presence of many parents in the expo.

How important is it for parents for their child to take to arts?

"It will be with him for life, as a way to express himself and as an emotional anchor. It is extremely important to be able to draw, sing and dance, and not just copy what they are given. Art liberates and becomes your best friend," a visiting parent said.

"The idea is that the child does not get led by their own creativity alone; the prime objective is to unleash that creative potential but allow a disciplined study of art. Art is about life, and life has to be lived in its totality," the School's principal Shashi Banerjee told IANS.

While the artworks were certainly spaces of rumination for children, such opportunities also pose a question: Are the sheltered spaces as schools are known to be, changing?-IANS