Artist Prabhakar Kolte believes that our methods to teach art need an overhaul

For two decades, till 1994, artist Prabhakar Kolte taught at a prestigious city art school. After his experience, he felt the need to commence teaching using unconventional methods. Kolte will return to teaching, though briefly, with a talk at Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum as part of Junoon’s Mumbai Local workshops, on approaching art education and initiation in a non-traditional way.

 Artist Prabhakar Kolte
Artist Prabhakar Kolte

“We always tell students to draw an 18 inch x 18 inch square and position one triangle, two circles and one line inside it. Each time I would ask a student or a teacher, ‘Why are these forms here?’ they didn’t have an answer. In this process, we are offering students readymade answers. It’s like telling a coolie to carry the luggage to platform No 2,” explains Kolte.

An artwork by Kolte
An artwork by Kolte

Kolte believes that every teacher is a student, and every student is a teacher.

The artist, who specialises in abstract art, has been developing methods to approach teaching arts in the non-curriculum way and hopes to start a school based on these new thoughts in Talegaon in a year’s time. “We can learn so much from listening, seeing, touching and smelling. When a child is born, it doesn’t know how to speak; it listens to it’s mother, and begins to talk. Similarly, there are various modes through which one can learn art. We never isolate ourselves, through my method; each student will have his/her individual space where they will be monitored. They can speak to a tree or a wall. You have to know yourself; it’s like meditation,” asserts the Mumbai-based artist. Kolte feels that all kinds of arts, whether music, dance or fine arts, are related and will discuss how an artist of any form needs to be attuned to other art forms to grasp more.

Kolte specialises in abstract art
Kolte specialises in abstract art

Apart from alternate methods of teaching, Kolte will also speak about understanding abstract art, which he feels is not easily understood due to our boundaries of forming associations with what we see. “Today, the system does not respect the thinker inside you. We need to overcome it to truly learn,” Kolte signs off.


On: May 8, 5 pm to 6.30 pm
At: BDL Museum, Byculla.
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