Taking forward one of the modules developed by art educator Nilanjana Nandy as part of the ‘For the Love of Art’ course in collaboration with FICA, Nilanjana conducted a workshop in Goa in November 2017 where 15 students from Grades 5 to 8 of Auxilium School, Carenzalem engaged in a sustained exploration of the most basic of any visual stimulus: the quintessential ‘dot’.

Over a 5 day-long workshop titled ‘The Anatomy of a Dot’, the students explored the distinct timelines, cultural diversities and individual mental states reflected in the distinctive use of dots by different artists. Beginning with a game-based format, the workshop not only supplemented the students’ existing knowledge-base of the concept of stippling by introducing them to the patterns of optical mixing in George Seurat’s pointillist paintings, but also enabled in them an understanding of the contrast between the use of dots across different modes of paintings- folk art (Australian aboriginal & Gond paintings) and works by pop artist Roy Lichtenstein being one of the illustrative juxtapositions. The students were also taken by Nilanjana for a walk along the creek at Camrabhat with Goa-based artist Vishal Rawley who is currently trying to revive the creek and works with the community nearby as part of the FICA Public Art Grant Project 2016.

Alongside practical exercises directed at an exploration of the qualities and uses of the ‘dot’ as it materializes through various mediums, the workshop also included a screening of American animator & artist, Chuck Jones’ “The Dot & the Line”, an adaptation of a book by Norton Juster by the same name. The young learners flipped through books based on these artists and engaged in associative discussions while working on their own artworks. Throughout the workshop, primary and monochrome paints were made use of to create an amalgamative range of colours and shades. This facilitated in the learners an understanding of the concept of a colour wheel through physically mixing different colours on a palette.

Centred around the idea of ‘My Goa’, the workshop had the participants move away from the staple image of Goa as it is channelled through picture postcards and the mass media to a more intimate understanding of their immediate geography and its constitutive lives through an exploration of the formal minutae and varied uses of the ‘dot’.

About Nilanjana Nandy:

Nilanjana Nandy is a visual artist and educator with over eight years of experience in teaching and working with students. She graduated with a specialisation in Painting from MS University of Baroda, one of the premier arts institutions in India, and has carried forward the critical approach that the school is known for through her own work. She believes in using art education to create points of deliberation, make connections and generate enthusiasm, in order to help children learn through exploration, play and processes. As an art educator she has worked with several schools in Delhi and NCR including St. Mary's, BTWS, Suncity World School; conducted workshops at Sriram School, IILM Institute; worked as visiting faculty at College of Art, Delhi and Sushant School of Art and Architecture. In her own artistic career she is deeply involved in developing projects with children.