WHAT WE SEE AROUND US | AN OUTDOOR SESSION AT DEER PARK, DILSHAD GARDEN
One of the following sessions was shaped by a chance happening, which are often great turning points for classroom situations. Not having been able to secure permission to work in the Basti Vikas Kendra on a particular Sunday, we shifted the session to an outdoor space. We decided upon the nearby DDA Park in Dilshad Colony. The session assumed the informal nature of a picnic where the art session was followed by outdoor games and snacks.
This time, with the intention of putting the venue to use, we asked the children to observe the shapes and lines of the objects in their immediate environment. ‘What we see around us in the park’ became the title of the session as we discussed literally the objects we saw in the park. However, it was observed that their drawings, supposedly based on intimate observations of the textures of leaves, the bend of branches and like materials, clearly drew influence from book illustrations as well, meaning, their drawings often reflected a generalized and consolidated visual perception of how trees or leaves generally look like. This became an interesting area of negotiation as the children began actually looking at the texture of a leaf as it was with a conscious rejection of pre-conceived notions drawn from print media.
While trying to render a nearby tree in the location, one of the learners put forward the question- ‘Do I draw the way I see? Or do I draw the way they are?’ This made the others think too, as was evident in different variations of the same inquiry put forth by the children. The children were subsequently divided into groups of five or six, each group accompanied by a volunteer who took them to different corners of the park to enable the children to move closer to their objects of inquiry without risking an accident. They moved closer to the plants, bushes; they touched the tree barks, picked up twigs and pebbles; some even traced out the fallen leaves on the blank sheets they were carrying. And thus, on their own they led an inquiry about ways of seeing and drawing. Ideas of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ drawings (which had been a staple concern since the first session) were also relatively diluted.