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India Foundation for the Arts
Newsletter Edition 37
October 2016 - January 2017
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Hello Readers!

India Foundation for the Arts (IFA) is back with news on our grantees and their projects between October, 2016 and January, 2017!

We hope you’ve had a joyous start to the New Year. We would like to take this opportunity to wish you the very best for 2017 and hope you will participate in some of our adventures this year, for we have many exciting events planned, across the country!

Do browse through our latest Annual Report for 2015 – 2016, where we take stock of the fellowships and projects, and public engagements and events, for a brief glimpse into the rollicking year that was.

In this newsletter we look forward to sharing with you the news at IFA over the past few months, and we hope you enjoy its contents, with updates on our various programmes — Arts Research, Arts Practice, Arts Education and the Archival and Museum Fellowship initiative — including new grants made and the showcases of the work of our grantees.

Please do visit our website or follow us on Twitter and facebook for updates! We would love to hear from you! Write to us at with any feedback or query.

The IFA Team

Programmes Publications
Events Point Of View
Announcements Support Us

Arts Research (AR)

The Arts Research programme, which supports scholars, researchers, and practitioners to undertake research into the various histories and expressions of artistic practices in India, this year, received over 325 enquiries. Of these, 18 were finalised for consideration by the evaluation panel, comprising Sadanand Menon, editor, art critic, and educator, Samik Bandyopadhyay, scholar and critic of art, theatre and film and Madan Gopal Singh, composer, singer, lyricist, actor, screenwriter and film theorist. The 10 grants finalised display the wealth of research being undertaken across the country, in different linguistic, cultural, economic and social contexts.

Rini Barman talks about her project studying the evolution and cultural significance
of the handmade Axomiya Gohona (jewellery) of Assam

With our focus on underrepresented and unexplored areas of work, support went for a few projects in the north-eastern region of India. Researcher Rekha Konsam, received support to enquire into the performance tradition of the Raseshori Pala of Manipur. The outcome of her research, a monograph, will examine the roles of women as custodians for maintaining and carrying forward the artistic expression of devotion embedded in the tradition. Rahul Ranadive, a photographer and filmmaker, received a grant to delve into the work of the Wancho Literary Mission in Arunachal Pradesh, which works towards the development and propagation of the Wancho script. The outcome of this project will be a video of the documented material. Researcher Rini Barman will study the evolution and cultural significance of the handmade Axomiya Gohona (jewellery) of Assam, including the various shifts in the designs, aesthetics and presentations of the jewellery over time. The outcome of her grant will be a monograph. Scholar Shalim Muktadir Hussain, received support for four films which seek to observe and document the four performative practices of the Char-Chapori Muslims of lower Assam namely, Lathibari, Naukhela, Gasshi Rati and Kobi Bayati. The project aims to explore the history of these cultural practices in light of the historical, political and religious pressures that have often questioned their legitimacy, in the region. Researcher Avner Medon Pariat, received support to research into the narratives of the Khla or the tiger as a cultural, social and political symbol in Khasi cultural practices. The outcome of this project, an exhibition and a website will provide a platform for his journey, with documentation of photographs from the field trips, and audio/video recordings of the interviews. Researchers Shaheen Salma Ahmed and Shakya Shamik Kar Khound will study the syncretic traditions inherent in traditional Axomiya society, through a study of the performance form Jikir, with our support. The outcome, an anthology on Jikir, and audio-visual documentation of performances and interviews, will map the cultural and social history of the performance tradition in Assam.

Avner Medon Pariat talks about his project examining the narratives of the Khla or the tiger in Khasi cultural practices

Among other projects, scholar Subhendu Dasgupta, who had previously received grants from IFA to study the history of Bengali Cartoons, has received support to study the history of Bengali posters from 1930s to the present time. His project aims to understand the political, social, cultural and aesthetic parameters of the posters and their transformations over the years. The outcomes of this project will be a book, essays and collectible prints of old posters. Scholar Sarover Zaidi, received support to trace the manner in which the Shi’a community in contemporary India deploys the Panja or the Fatima’s Hand as part of a larger collection of visual and material artefacts to show veneration for the Prophet Muhammad’s family during Muharram in Dongri and Bhendi Bazar, Mumbai. The outcome of this project, a book, will study these phenomena in the context of various debates on iconoclasm within Islam. Researcher Ashok Lote received a grant to research the role played by progressive theatre in Haryana, through the work of the Haryana Gyan Vigyan Samiti, in the struggle for the freedom of expression of women, over the past forty years. The outcome of this project will be a monograph. Photographer Sandesh Bhandare had received support from us in 2001 to study the performance practice of Tamaasha and the lives of the performers in Maharashtra, through photo-documentation. This led to the publication of a bilingual book in Marathi and English with his photographs. After 16 years he came back to us to return to the same region to understand the changes that have taken place in the ecology and practice of Tamaasha with the cumulative impact of socio-political and economic forces over the years. He will receive support under this programme in the coming months.

Arts Practice (AP)

In keeping with the Arts Practice programme’s mandate of encouraging practitioners working across artistic disciplines to question existing notions through their practice, we supported two innovative projects in dance and theatre.

We are happy to be a part of the Kochi Biennale with a grant made to danseuse and choreographer, Padmini Chettur, for the creation of a dance piece, Varnam, which reinterprets a traditional Bharatanatyam composition called Mohamana. In the context of its history and the current practice of Bharatanatyam where the woman’s body has been constructed through the male gaze, this work attempts to de-objectify the female dancer’s body by questioning and critiquing the deeply embedded representations of Indian femininity in performance and everyday life.

A still from Padmini Chettur’s rehearsals for Varnam, a dance piece that reinterprets
a traditional Bharatanatyam composition called Mohamana

We also supported the production of a play titled Muktidham, by playwright and director, Abhishek Majumdar, which will open on January 27, 2016 at Rangashankara, Bangalore. The play written in Hindi is based on the history of conflict between Buddhism and Hinduism in the 8th century. The play, set in the fictional town of Beerpur during the reign of the Pala Kings, enquires into the complex relationships between religion, power, politics, caste and patriarchy.

Please do note that the Arts Practice programme of IFA is the only programme that does not follow a calendar, with our Request for Proposals being open all year round. Visit our website for more information on the programme, and apply in any language, with your exciting projects.

Arts Education (AE)

The Arts Education programme is for Karnataka, and focusses on two key areas – training and workshops on integrating arts in the curriculum for government school teachers and administrators in education; and grants to artists and teachers to support projects that encourage learning through the arts.

We conducted two Block Level Events in association with the office of the Block Level Education Officer, at Byndoor, Udupi District, and Chikkaballapura, Chikkaballapura District, in December, 2016. Objectives for both events were to acquaint participants with the basics of literary and performing arts; build awareness on cultural diversity by recognising the diverse local art forms prevalent in their region; develop an aesthetic appreciation for local art forms, stories and poetry and employ them as possible pedagogical tools; and encourage free expression and creativity. The programme for both sessions centred on discussions on the National Curriculum Framework and Recommendations, defining the power of arts education, efforts to improve arts education in schools, and creating conditions for learning and playing as facilitators.

Photograph of one of the workshops conducted as part of the Block Level Event at Byndoor, Udupi District, Karnataka

The following grants to teachers were also made during this period. BalappaIrappa Chinagudi, received support for a series of workshops to explore the significance of museums and museum objects, including coins and currency, with sixth grade students of the Government Higher Primary School, Sangreshakoppa, Belagavi District. The outcome of this project, an exhibition of the materials of the workshop, seeks to enhance the students’ learning in the social sciences. Jaya M Chapparamane received support for a series of artistic engagements to explore the science curriculum through poetry and the written word, with sixth and seventh grade students of the Government Higher Primary School, Birashettyhalli, Mandya District. Nagaraja M Hudeda will undertake a series of engagements in the literary arts to address learning challenges associated with language, with the students of Government Primary School, Bylandora Gauliwada, North Canara District. The outcomes will include a publication and performances with and for members of the local Gauli community, who are migrants from Maharashtra. Siddappa Biradar received a grant to introduce students to the various aspects of different types of puppetry that is prevalent in the region, at the Government High School, Chibbalageri, North Canara District. The outcomes will include an exhibition and a performance.

Nagaraja M Hudeda (Left) talks about his work with the students of Government Primary School, Bylandora Gauliwada

The next round of Request for Proposals from teachers working in government schools in Karnataka, for arts based projects in their schools, is now open for application. The deadline for application is January 31, 2017. Follow the link to know more about the application process and requirements, and please spread the word!

The Arts Education Programme for the year 2016—17 is supported by Citi India.

While Citi India supports the entire Arts Education programme this year, we also organised two special training programmes for teachers at two different schools, run by NGOs – Hongirana School of Excellence in Sagar, Shimoga District and Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement, Centre of Learning in Hosahalli, Mysore District, during this period, supported by Tata AIG and Titan Company Limited respectively.

The training at Sagar, focussed on developing new assessment strategies towards trying to fit arts education into a non-traditional assessment system, while at the same time providing arts education that is both critical and meaningful to students. The teachers were exposed to an immersive training process over these three days through three arts training modules that opened up possibilities for enriching classroom experiences. The training at Hosahalli for school teachers in tribal areas endeavoured to explore ways of effectively mapping the community’s cultural practices into the classroom curriculum, through language, arts, craft, murals, and theatre games. The programme also aimed to bring science and mathematics under the umbrella of the arts to create a new web of learning.

Photograph of one of the workshops conducted as part of the training programme
at Hosahalli, Mysore District, Karnataka
Archival and Museum Fellowships

The Archival and Museum Fellowship initiative at IFA aims to give applicants the opportunity to work with archival and museum collections in innovative and original ways, to re-present them through new frameworks and make the museum and archive a more dynamic space. The outcomes of these projects are presented at the host institution, for which we collaborate with archives and museums across the country. In the past we have collaborated with the Munshi Aziz Bhat Museum of Central Asian and Kargil Trade Artefacts, Kargil, the National Museum, New Delhi, the Archives and Research Centre for Ethnomusicology of the American Institute of Indian Studies (ARCE), Gurgaon and the Asia Art Archive (AAA), New Delhi, to name a few.

We spent this period receiving applications for two fellowships at the Assam State Museum, Guwahati. One fellowship will be awarded to work with the Naga Collection, which contains more than 200 objects that cover some of the major aspects of Naga material culture; and the second fellowship will be awarded to curate a series of events, based on selected objects from the entire collection of the Assam State Museum. Do watch this space for news on the fellows who get selected for this programme.

In this quarter we are happy to announce the latest Request for Proposals, this time in collaboration with Kalakriti Archives, Hyderabad. We invite applications for two fellowships, each for a period of 10-12 months, with the aim of supporting curators, art historians, designers, urban researchers, visual artists and other practitioners to engage with the collection of archival maps at the Kalakriti Archives, Hyderabad. The two chosen fellows will work with two of the collections, respectively, at the archive, the Hyderabad Municipal Maps Collection and the India Prshant Lahoti Collection of Indian Archival Maps. The Hyderabad Municipal Maps Collection contains a set of 550 maps of Hyderabad, commissioned by the Nizam of Hyderabad in 1908 after the devastating floods in the city. The Prshant Lahoti India Archival Maps Collection with over 3000 vintage maps, spreading over cultures and continents, was instituted to acquire, preserve and interpret the heritage of world civilisations.

The Request for Proposals to apply for a fellowship at the Kalakriti Archives is now open! Do apply and share widely

To know more and apply for the fellowship, please follow the link and also share this call with those interested in delving into archives and working with maps!

The Archival and Museum Fellowship initiative for the years 2015 – 2018 is supported by the Tata Trusts.

Photograph of our grantees at the December, 2016 Grantee Orientation.
(Back Row: L-R): Rahul Ranadive (AR), Avner Medon Pariat (AR), Shaheen Salma Ahmed (AR), Sarovar Zaidi (AR), Shalim Muktadir Hussain (AR); (Front Row: L-R) Ashok Lote (AR), Basavalingiah & Vishveshwari Hiremath (AE), Rini Barman (AR), Aparna Deshpande (AE), Nagaraja M Hudeda (AE), Siddappa Biradar (AE)
Arts Research - AR; Arts Education - AE

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We organise presentations, performances, panel discussions, film screenings and more, as Grant Showcases to share the work of our grantees, across the country. Below is a succinct narrative of our many engagements through the last few months.

We supported the organisation of an international conference, Mysore Modernity, Artistic Nationalism and The Art of K Venkatappa, by our grantee, artist Pushpamala N, which was held at the Venkatappa Art Gallery and the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), Bangalore between November 25 and 27, 2016. The conference explored a seminal figure in Karnataka’s visual art landscape – K Venkatappa, who has been largely ignored in the national discourse on modern art in India.

We oraganised a screening of the film, The Common Task - an experimental HD video film on NASA’s Mars One project, by our grantees, artists Pallavi Paul and Sahej Rahal, at the Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum, Bangalore on Saturday, December 03, 2016. The screening of the film was bookended by two unique engagements - a 3-Dimensional tour of Mars through the museum’s Science on a Sphere global display system, and a viewing of Mars through a telescope.
This grant showcase was made possible with support from Titan Company Limited.

(L-Image) A packed audience in attendance at the Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum,
for the screening of The Common Task.
(R-Image) The filmmakers, Pallavi Paul and Sahej Rahal, answer audience questions post the event

This period witnessed the opening of the exhibition, Shifting Narratives (An Exhibition of Works from the Madhavan Nayar Foundation Collection) by our fellow, curator Supriya Menon. The exhibition opened at the Kerala Museum, Kochi in collaboration with IFA, on Sunday, December 11, 2016. The works in this exhibition, part of the Madhavan Nayar Foundation Collection, highlight the diverse ways in which modern and contemporary artists have depicted the human figure to narrate stories about the India of their times.

Dancer Padmini Chettur presented her performance Varnam, which was supported by IFA, at the Kochi Biennale between December 13 and 18, 2016. The piece sought to reinterpret a traditional Bharatanatyam composition called Mohamana.

We organised a presentation, Myths, Similes and Memory Traces: Imageries of Abduction in the Ramayana Universe, by our grantee, researcher Roma Chatterji, at the Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya (IGRMS), Bhopal on December 20, 2016. The presentation focussed on Sita’s abduction, to understand the oral traditions and accompanying visual imagery of the Pradhan-Gonds of Madhya Pradesh.

Roma Chatterji presents, Myths, Similes and Memory Traces: Imageries of Abduction in the Ramayana Universe,
at the Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya (IGRMS), Bhopal

We presented a performance, Conditions of Carriage, by our grantee, dancer and choreographer Preethi Athreya & Team, at Mumbai Assembly with support from Tamaasha Theatre on December 20, 2016. The unique performance captured the mechanics of the body, as a group of people negotiated the force of gravity within their bodies - through the act of jumping.
This grant showcase was supported by the Bajaj Group.

Preethi Athreya, surrounded by members of the team, answers audience questions post a performance of
Conditions of Carriage, at the Mumbai Assembly

We conducted two MaathuKathes, meaning Conversations in Kannada, with Akhu aka Ronid Chingangbam and Surekha, respectively. Akhu, a singer/songwriter and poet, narrated many stories of music, protests, passion and so much more, through his inimitable mix of folk and rock music. Surekha lead us on her journey as an installation and visual artist, highlighting her unique project the Nightie Revolution, which explores the versatile garment, to understand its many meanings in contemporary India.

MaathuKathe - (L) Akhu Chingangbam performs and talks about his music;
(R) Surekha talks about her journey as an artist

IFA launched Catalyst – Arts an Inspiration for Excellence, in November, 2015. Catalyst is a unique initiative, which brings together eminent artists, who will share their experiences about their pursuit of excellence, at corporate venues. As part of this initiative, we have partnered with corporate houses, including Biocon Limited, Sasken Communication Technologies, Centum Electronics, Cisco Systems Inc, and Titan Company Limited. In the last few months artists Sanjna Kapoor, Raghu Rai, Rahul Ram, Ratna Pathak Shah and Arundhati Nag conducted sessions, talking about their individual journeys at various venues. Through the duration of our engagements under the Catalyst initiative, we have also had artists Atul Dodiya, Nandita Das, Romi Khosla, Malavika Sarukkai, Aditi Mangaldas, Jitish Kallat, and Shekar Gupta talk about their experiences with the arts.

Sanjna Kapoor talks about her journey with the arts at Titan, Bangalore

If you would like to know more about this initiative, or partner with us, please contact:

Upcoming Events

There are several upcoming events spread out across the country, and we look forward to seeing some of you in the audience!

bird_bullet IFA supported production, Muktidham, will premiere at Ranga Shankara on January 27, 2017. The play, which is in Hindi, is based on the history of conflict between Buddhism and Hinduism in the 8th century.

bird_bullet IFA supported production, Monkey and the Mobile will perform at Adishakti, on January 28 and 29, 2017. The play uses the mobile phone and technology as a theme to gauge their impact on our lives, through stories - some real, some imagined.

bird_bullet IFA supported production, Muktidham will be performed in Mumbai, on February 04 and 05, 2017 at Prithvi Theatre.

bird_bullet IFA supported projects will be at the Adishakti Festival, February, 2017.
1. On February 06, 2017, Sharanya Ramprakash and her team will perform Akshayambara. A theatrical exploration of gender in Yakshagana.
2. On February 20, 2017, Vikram Iyengar will perform Across not Over.
Sharanya Ramprakash received a grant from India Foundation for the Arts, under its Arts Practice programme, with support from Voltas Limited.

bird_bullet IFA supported projects will be at the 25th Kankavli Natyautsav, February, 2017.
1. On February 16, 2017, Aasakta Kalamanch will perform F-1/105. The play weaves the personal and the political, the physical and the psychological, and takes one through stunning revelations of the colour 'green'.
2. On February 18, 2017, Sharanya Ramprakash and her team will perform Akshayambara.
Sharanya Ramprakash received a grant from India Foundation for the Arts, under its Arts Practice programme, with support from Voltas Limited.

bird_bullet On February 23, 2017 we will launch Witness, a book on press photography from the Kashmir Valley by 10 photographers. Do follow us on Twitter and facebook or sign up for our emails for venue details.

bird_bullet On February 27, 2017 we will screen Ajeeb Aashiq/Strange Love by Natasha Mendonca, as part of our monthly MaathuKathe/Conversations session. The filmmaker will also be present for a Q&A post the screening.

For more details on these events, do sign up for our emails here, follow us on facebook or Twitter for regular updates, or simply tune into our website at:

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We invite proposals for our Arts Education programme and the Archival and Museum Fellowships initiative.

bird_bullet Arts Education
Request for Proposals from teachers working in Government Schools in Karnataka
[Deadline: January 31, 2017]
Write to the Programme Executive at

bird_bullet Archival and Museum Fellowships
Request for Proposals from curators, art historians, designers, urban researchers, visual artists and other practitioners
[Deadline: February 15, 2017]
Write to the Programme Executive at

Do apply and spread the word!

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We have an interesting set of publications to offer which include postcards featuring our grantees' work, books and back issues of our magazine Art Connect. You can avail of special anniversary discounts on Limited Edition collections. All the proceeds from the sale of publications go back into grantmaking.
To know more, write to

IFA POSTCARDS Set 1 Beyond the Proscenium Embroidering Futures: ArtConnect Limited Edition
Own a set today!
Suggested contribution:
Rs 200
For details, write to
Beyond the Proscenium
Reimagining the Space for Performance

Edited by Anmol Vellani
176 pp., Rs 300, US $20
Click here to buy online.
Embroidering Futures:
Repurposing the Kantha

Edited by Ritu Sethi
192 pp., Rs 400, US $30
Click here to buy online.
20 years: Limited Edition - Set of 9 ArtConnect back issues
Buy Now at Rs 700 only
Click here to know more.
To buy ArtConnect, write to
Buy both and get a discount of Rs 100!
Click here to know more.

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point of view

Ramesh Narayanrao is an artist who received a grant towards a series of exercises in the visual arts – drawing, painting and design – and storytelling, to sensitise the students to their environment. This project will be undertaken with forty students, from the sixth and seventh grades of the Government Model Primary School, in Hesaraghatta, Bangalore.
This grant was made possible with support from Goethe Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan, Bangalore.

Ramesh Narayanrao holds a Masters in Painting from the Faculty of Fine Arts, MS University Baroda and a Bachelor’s degree in Science from Bangalore University. He received a fellowship from the Ministry of Human Resources, and is a recipient of the National Award for Sculpture from the All India Exhibition of Art, Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath. He has held several shows in India and abroad, and has participated in several art camps by the state and central Lalit Kala Academy and private art institutions. He has written extensively on art and culture and has published articles in books and magazines. He has contributed to Art Education not only as a dedicated teacher but also through his work designing curricula and creating innovative teaching methodologies for visual art and animation. He has previously worked as the Department in-charge for the postgraduate course on painting, College of Fine Arts, Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath, and as Head of Academics at Toonskool Animation Academy.

IFA: Please could you give us a short introduction to the school, the context that you are working in, and talk about its students?

Ramesh Narayanrao: I selected the Government Model Primary School, Hesaraghatta, Bangalore (Rural), for the project. It is situated to the north-east of Bangalore, off the Bangalore – Mumbai National Highway. The school is located on one side of the village, with a big play ground and adequate class rooms. There are 240 students studying in this school, with eight teachers. Most of the students come from lower middle class backgrounds and hail from communities that are financially challenged. Many of their parents either work in garment factories or farming and agriculture. The students I work with are from the sixth and seventh grade. Their abilities in communication and language are poor, both with writing as well as speaking. The context that they come from and their communication problems, however, do not hinder their interest in learning art. Since the number of students are large, I decided to conduct a test and select interested students for the art classes – zeroing in on thirty students from both the grades for this project.

Ramesh leads the students in a session on collage making

IFA: Why did you want to concentrate on the visual medium?

Ramesh Narayanrao: Our communication is strongly structured around oral and text mediums. These mediums effectively help us in our daily transactions. We fulfil our basic needs through speech and the written word. There are many questions that we have not thought of seriously, such as, ‘who are we?’, ‘what are our abilities?’ and ‘how far can we expand our self to make our life fruitful and meaningful?’ Senses such as seeing, hearing, tangible experiences and tasting come naturally to us by birth. Seeing comes before speaking and writing. But as we grow, we engage with an education system, which doesn’t enhance these inherent abilities. Rather, it curtails them and reduces our ability to react and communicate through them. But if we look back at our past, it is evident throughout history that visual expression was a more powerful medium than text; indeed text was born essentially out of the visual medium.

In my present project in arts education, I am trying to ignite/provoke the ability to think through the visual medium. And through this experiential learning, students will learn new skills which will help them express themselves and communicate in better ways. They can think visually and respond to a situation or context more effectively. They can also develop better insight about an issue or a problem and be more capable of addressing it.

Vibrant work of the students

IFA: How did you start the process of introducing the visual medium as a learning tool to the students?

Ramesh Narayanrao: At first I tried to introduce a few visual elements to the students, through which they could identify, and classify the visual world around them. Next we worked on learning to draw, and using drawing as a tool in their communication. These exercises sensitise their observation and thinking. What I experienced in these classes is that the children have a lot of curiosity, and the speed at which they learn such things is very encouraging. They have allowed their mind to play and move with freehand line drawing. They are capable of doing much better than they are doing now, only if the entire learning system changes completely.

In the next few classes, I encouraged them to observe what they see around them and draw in their sketch book after their classes. Most of them draw, from their text books or cartoons. I had to struggle to make them really see their immediate visual world around. So I am encouraging them by providing drawing materials and asking them to sketch more and more. That is the only way I can make them “SEE” “LOOK” and “OBSERVE” the visual details, and relate them with their immediate life.

IFA: You plan to use other visual mediums, beyond drawing. Please do talk about the other sessions you have planned.

Ramesh Narayanrao: Drawing is obviously a core tool in all the classes. But to increase the possibilities of visual exploration, I am employing painting – using pastels, poster colours, colour pencils - and creating collages. I’m also planning to use straw pipes, clay and corrugated sheets to work on three-dimensional explorations. This leads to learning three-dimensional thinking. Apart from these visual mediums, I have already conducted storytelling sessions, encouraging them to imagine the characters. Learning through stop-motion animation, especially how the visuals move has helped me communicate my ideas.

Puppets made by the students

IFA: You talk about a change that is needed in the entire educational system to help the students perform better. Please tell us what these changes could be for the school that you are working in?

Ramesh Narayanrao: In the present scenario, as I have observed, our educational practice of learning is mostly planned from the perspective of a committee. There is a lacuna in terms of incorporating training of children in visual medium and visual sensibility. Visual medium is the mother of all other mediums and there is an urgency to consider this while planning the syllabus. The present syllabus in this regard does not have any research base. Visual medium is an independent course which makes learning other subject areas better. In the present school I observed from my experience that the performance of the students who are practicing in art and design improve. They appear more confident in thinking and doing. Their performance in other areas will improve if the classes on art are continuously organised over the years.

IFA: What are the challenges you faced while working with the students?

Ramesh Narayanrao: Unfortunately these children do not have natural surrounding around their school that can inspire them. Trees, insects, birds, animals and all the natural life is replaced by urban visuals such as buildings, automobiles, dust and smoke. Sadly, children can see nature only in their text books and copy them.

While working with the students I am also facing challenges in communication, in terms of their ability to understand and speak on different subjects. Their writing ability is poor and they cannot speak on the given subject. Their ability to think freely is not addressed by the syllabus or the teaching methods. They cannot articulate their ideas.

Other issues with the school environment include the lack of interest among the teachers to come and see what the students are doing. They do not volunteer or participate in the sessions though they were asked to. I’m also finding it difficult to achieve the objectives of this project within this short duration; consistency and continuity is difficult without internal support from the system of the school.

The students work in groups

IFA: What are some of your key learnings from this project, that you wish to communicate to the larger audience interested in pedagogy in art?

Ramesh Narayanrao: This project is opening my eyes to several issues. One issue is that our society is rushing without direction. This materialistic world is leading people towards aiming only for monetary benefits and comforts. There is a need to address this larger problem by bringing changes in grassroots education and learning practices. The visual medium can help address this effectively, together with other mediums of learning. Exposure to the visual medium at an early age can fine tune all their senses of learning and articulation. It also provides a strong human and ethical base to the individual. This can provide answers in our search for the meaning of life, in a larger context.

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Support Us

India Foundation for the Arts makes grants to artists, scholars and institutions throughout the year. For all these exciting projects to take shape, we have to constantly raise funds. We would like to thank our donors who have supported us and made the many projects possible in the last few months.

You can support and engage with IFA in many ways—by becoming a Friend of IFA or a Donor Patron or even by sponsoring our fundraising events and by spreading the word about IFA. Every contribution counts.

bird_bullet   Become a Friend of IFA
Support us by becoming a Friend of IFA. As a Friend, you will be contributing directly to philanthropy in the arts and increasing the presence of the arts in public life. It starts at just 3,500/- a year and your donation is tax-deductible under 80G. You will receive exclusive access to IFA events and our Annual Reports. Become a Friend of IFA.

bird_bullet   Become a Donor Patron
We invite you to donate generously and join IFA's Donor Patron Circles and be a part of the IFA family. By joining IFA's Donor Patron Circles, you can choose to contribute directly to our Corpus or support a specific grantee whose work is of interest to you; you can underwrite operational costs or extend your support to any one of our programmes. Donor Patron circles include Platinum, Gold and Silver categories. Patrons receive a mention in our Annual Report; get exclusive access to IFA events and more. Learn more about our Donor Patron Circle.

bird_bullet   You can support us by sponsoring our events, inviting our grantees to showcase their work at your workplace or home, or even attending our events, and forwarding this newsletter to your friends who are interested in the arts. If you would like to support IFA in anyway, please contact Menaka Rodriguez at

bird_bullet   You can also support us by liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter and Youtube. Stay tuned to know more about our projects, initiatives and exciting events!

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