Child labour of a fun kind

Sep 06, 2011, 08:25 IST | Aditi Sharma

Caution: Children At Work includes artworks by five artists as well as two video installations. Watch a bunch of enthusiastic children tell you their future plans in When I Grow Up I Want to Be an Artist

The title, Caution: Children At Work, might make it sound like a rather dreary exhibition, perhaps on the travails of children who struggle every day of their lives, but the multimedia exhibition is anything but dreary. In fact, it seems to have evolved rather organically, in keeping with Mumbai Art Room's surroundings. The exhibition comprises two video installations - When I Grow Up I Want To Be An Artist and Bedtime Stories - plus artworks by artists Shreyas Karle, Sanjeev Khandekar and Vaishali Narkar, Sharmila Samant and Apnavi Thacker.

The basis for Caution: Children At Work goes as far as back as three centuries, the press note informs us. The exhibition builds on the notion, 'Every human being is an artist,' which was initially attributed to German artist Joseph Beuys but first uttered by his countryman, the philosopher Novalis in the 18th century. Curator Gitanjali Dang decided to harness the potential of Novalis' utopian idea with Tanushree Malode, Vishaka Malode, Saloni Tandel and Tanushri Tandel. The children would frequent the gallery since their schools are nearby. "Instead of having an exhibition where kids would draw and we'd put up those pictures, I conceptualised two videos - When I Grow Up I Want To Be An Artist and Bedtime Stories," shares Dang.

The first video has six to 11-year-olds talk about their ideas of art and what kind of artist they'd like to be when they grow up. The second video, Bedtime Stories, was shot while Dang read out discussed Joseph Beys' ideas on art pedagogy and how everyone can be an artist with the children. Gallery director Susan Hapgood considers this a dynamic project for Mumbai art Room. "We're a very localised non profit space embedded in a residential community so working with the neighbourhood children has been a great experience," she points out.
The other half of the exhibition includes artworks that also revolve around the concept popularised by Beuys.

Till September 23, 11 am to 7 pm
At Pipewala Building, Rear Courtyard , Fourth Pasta Lane, Colaba.
Call 9769950136

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