Young minds respond to the masters

Upcoming exhibition to show students' works of art that respond to the collection at CSMVS

Few of the 65 participants who will showcase their works at CSMVS next weekend. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
Few of the 65 participants who will showcase their works at CSMVS next weekend. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar

On a Friday evening, at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS), we are standing in front of a mixed media work titled Stacked Up in Time. It has been created by Deepika Nayak, a ninth standard student from the Aditya Birla World Academy, as a response to the collection of miniatures at the museum.

"This is my way of commenting on the past, present and future," says the 15-year-old of her piece that uses characters of the miniature tradition infused with modern elements and motifs drawn from nature. Like, for instance, a maharajah on a telephone, instead of the customary hookah.

Nayak is one among the 65 children from across eight schools and an NGO, who have fashioned their own creative responses to the collection of Indian classical art, modern and contemporary art, and historic and cultural artefacts in the CSMVS collection. Kirti Kumar, a 17-year-old high school student who is part of an NGO called National Society for Clean Cities, has made an acrylic in canvas rendition of a Nataraja in the recently-opened decorative arts gallery.

The works of these students are part of an exhibition called ART Record, an initiative by Secure Giving Events (an arm of Concern India Foundation), to be held at the Premchand Roychand Gallery in CSMVS on February 10 and 11. The proceeds from the sale of the works will go towards helping underprivileged children.

A new museum culture
The participating students were mentored in October last year by gallerist Shireen Gandhy, curator Sumeshwar Sharma, artist Reena Saini Kallat and theorist and critic Kaiwan Mehta. Sumeshwar Sharma says that the show defies stereotypes about "teenage art".

The show will possibly be received as a much-needed intervention in the manner in which schools interact with museums. Pallavi Sahney Sharma, the consultant behind this four-month program, says, "We have introduced the children to the collection at a pertinent time in their lives, when the seeds of creativity are sown." Sharma adds that they intend to make the project an annual affair, including visits to artists’ studios.

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