Students learn discipline through art

Every classroom in a school has a group of ‘naughty’ students who feel distracted and are not interested in studies. For them, nothing is interesting enough to keep them focused. So, engaging them in a creative activity or co-curriculars is one of the ways of making them disciplined and well mannered.

In an endeavour to revive warli art and get such students closer to art, Arvind J Kudia — art teacher at Nutan Madhyamik Vidyalaya, Cantonment Board School, Ahmednagar Cantonment, Maharashtra — has trained almost 100 students in it so far.

A tribal art form mostly practiced by adivasis of north Sahyadri area of Maharastra, warli involves creating miniature triangle-shaped stick figures. Traditionally done on walls with rice grains, the artwork portrays cultures, traditions, dance, wedding ceremonies and meditation to name a few, of these adivasis.

According to Kudia, the monochromatic artwork is today struggling to survive in the market. So, by teaching students this art form, he aspires to make students feel connected with art. “Students work on this art after school hours. They enjoy it so much that they sit for 12 hours at a stretch for these paintings,” adds Kudia, who has displayed warli paintings created by selected students of the school, at an exhibition
titled ‘Transformation Through Art’, at India International Centre.

For him, engaging students in something productive like warli art, will not only bring more discipline to their lives, but will also make them feel content at the end of the day.

Given the detailing that goes in these paintings, many onlookers of the exhibition didn’t believe that they were really created by students of class 10th, informs Kudia. Hence, he asked students to create these paintings during the exhibition, so as to provide a live demo to the visitors.

And despite being miles away from their hometown, there seem to be a notable confidence and grace in these students, while they enthusiastically make tiny strokes of warli on handmade paper with poster colours, and with acrylic on canvas.

“This has now become our hobby. Earlier it was difficult to understand this art, but now we enjoy it,” remarks Rishikesh Salve, son of a waiter in a small eatery, who dreams to become a landscape artist.

“Ek hi colour mei banana hota hai, islie isme bahut maza aata hai (Since these paintings are done with just one colour (white), it’s fun to create them,” Salve tells Metrolife.

Like Salve, most of these students come from underprivileged families. While warli art is something that they all want to continue, as a profession or a hobby, they say that being engaged in this art form for the last two years, and becoming “masters” of warli art, has changed them a lot.

“We used to be more furious earlier. But making warli paintings has changed us a lot. Our parents, our neighbours and relatives, everyone now feels proud of us,” says Adnan Kazi, whose father is a mechanic and mother a homemaker, and aspires to be an artist in near future.

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