Grant Period: Over one year
G. Raghav holds a degree in Fine Arts from M S University, Baroda. He is a professional photographer, a web designer and also a Mridangam player.
G. Raghav’s experiences as an art student led him to ask whether the art school he attended may have taken its students for granted. “I had hoped to receive an integrated view of art”, he writes, “but what I stumbled upon was confusion. I also encountered students who were equally confused. This was not because they were not good students, but that the communication in the art school was not articulate.”
At the undergraduate level in an art school, Raghav observes, foundation courses give students a broad overview of techniques and help them focus on pictorial topics such as colour, texture, form, light and shade in more formal terms. Similarly, through specific exercises, students are introduced to the various media involved, whether pencil, charcoal, pastels, or watercolours.
Raghav writes, students were left bewildered by matters that fell outside their own artistic experiences and ambitions. The problem, he hastens to add, is not that critique in the arts is unwelcome, but that the mode of communication adhered to by arts schools and teachers may be undisciplined and untimely.
He will closely study, three distinct modes of communication that he feels operate in an art school and form the school’s worldview and its pedagogy. The first, the structured verbal, second mode is the structured nonverbal, whereby the student is exposed to the sensibilities behind different artistic mediums. Third, to complete the way the art school communicates with itself, is the unstructured verbal.
Using these three levels as a basis for his further study will enable him to analyze, understand and evaluate how professional art schools in Bangalore function. His preliminary research convinces him that the art schools in Bangalore are impoverished and he intends that his study will pin-point these drawbacks and allow for more discussion from a student’s perspective.
Against this larger backdrop, his research on the ground will also comprise interviewing students and teachers in the city’s art schools to ascertain their possibly differing views on art in the city. He is particularly keen to interview those students who have entered art school through scholarships, fellowships or grants from other institutions, believing this will reveal something about how art is represented and evaluated by governmental and private institutions. This aspect of research will look into state and central government policies governing art education at the high school and college level.
He expects the book that will result from his research to have national impact on student and teachers in art schools. He had also intended writing regularly for newspapers, magazines and journals even as his research was underway, and towards that end, has recently been offered a weekly art column with Bangalore’s Deccan Herald.