Elements

In December I was very busy with a project called Elements. Elements was an experimental art installation for children in Kolkata, the first of its kind in India, and for the kids it was a thrilling sensory experience. Created by Ruchira Das of ThinkArts, this multimedia project melded puppetry, motion-activated laser and sound, and clay.  When I met Ruchira, she knew that she wanted to include clay in the project, but was still looking for ideas of what to do and for an artist to make it happen.  After my months of observing the processes at Kumartuli, the maker in me leapt into action and I suggested that we draw upon Kumartuli for inspiration and create straw figures for the children to cover with clay.   Ruchira agreed, and I happily became part of the project.  I decided that these straw, jute, and bamboo figures would be life-sized children; my reasoning was that I wanted the children to be able to relate directly to the forms as reflections of themselves.

DSC_0014 DSC_0005

Working in straw is seriously fun!  And the camaraderie of  our diverse group made the experience even more enjoyable.  Here are the figures the night before the installation opened, with just a hint of clay to get the children started.

Elements process view 2

The children at play, more than 150 kids participated!

Elements process view 3 Elements process view 4

And by the end of the event, the figures were transformed.  For me there’s a poetry to these cracking layers of clay, unselfconsciously (maybe even  gleefully?) slathered onto the straw forms.  I love them.

Elements final result view 2

Elements final result view 6 Elements final result view 7

Given the success of this installation, Ruchira Das plans to have another ELEMENTS event in Kolkata very soon, and is also working on taking the ThinkArts project to other cities such as Delhi and Bangalore.”

Comments (3)

  • Sinthia Lawren

    April 28, 2015 at 9:43 am

    I think clay is the best material for Art. We have to use this because it’s not expensive and it’s Environment friendly. My 7 years old child “Sara” her school has been given teach him about clay Arts. Every years her school arrange a good festival of Clay Arts. I have been going there every year. Really, I’m happy to see this.

    1. Cynthia

      July 1, 2015 at 1:30 am

      Thank you Sinthia. I’m glad that you found my blog.

  • Sharon Virtue

    March 8, 2018 at 5:34 am

    AWesome Cynthia… I wanna come to India with you one day! regarding your cracking clay – a mixture of sand into that – same for adobe architecture will stop that cracking!! For next time!!

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