Art as a subject is not something that we as parents may be entirely comfortable with, or knowledgeable about. When it comes to teaching our kids about great Indian artists, we may find that we lack information ourselves. However, it is essential that we expose children to the very rich and diverse world of Indian art and artists.
Why should our children know about Indian artists? The popularity of Indian artists is not restricted to India alone. Indian art has been revered over the world for centuries, and continues to be so even today. Children must know of the modern masters that their country has created! It makes them aware of their heritage and culture. This is not something they will find in a history book, but it is something that is still very much a part of their culture.
An experience in art in form of looking at the life and works of an artist is a way of opening up the mind to creative thought. Art education and appreciation helps to understand human experience, emotions and thoughts.
What was the genesis of Raza’s obsession with the Bindu? How did a simple dot become a defining factor? This book takes us through the childhood of one of the most famous painters of our times. It introduces children not only to his life story but also the themes of his works. The book is interactive and contains several fold out pages that enable the child to become more ‘hands-on’ with the book as he or she delves into the world of Raza!
Looking at Art series by Anjali Raghbeer
This is a set of four books that talk about Indian artists. However, these books introduce the masters in form of a story, where a young protagonist encounters the artist and interacts with him or her. Fact and biography meet fiction and the delightfully woven tale makes the child feel as if he has met an artist friend! The books feature interesting illustrations as well as reproductions of the paintings by the artists.
In Barefoot Hussain, the young Jai offers to help the artist find his shoes when he loses them. The fun story follows the duo as the reader learns of vignettes and stories and works of the master’s life.
In A Trail of Paint, Biswajit is dragged unwillingly on a culture trip, to an exhibition of Jamini Roy’s paintings. Once there, however, an encounter with an old man leads him to an intriguing discovery of fakes and forgers, down Kolkata’s by lanes!
In My Name is Amrita, the dairy narrative is used. The book reads like Amrita Sher-Gil’s diary, and is interspersed with photographs and paintings.
In Ravi Varma: The Veena Player, a young girl, Valsa is helping her aunt restore a painting when she befriends the subject of the painting- the Veena player. Through this uncanny friendship she learns about the artist Ravi Varma!
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This book beautifully chronicles the life of a multifaceted artist, who unfortunately died young. She was an artist, a dreamer and a rebel! Who exactly was Amrita Sher-Gil? She was a little bit of all these things, really. Her roots touched Hungary, as well as colonial Shimla. This book is relatively detailed and is filled with many images, sketches and photographs, all complementing the text so beautifully and literally bringing the artist alive on the pages. Divided into chapters, the book brings out how her childhood experiences and travels shaped her personality and work.
Amrita Sher-Gil: Rebel with a Paintbrush looks at her work in the context of the times she lived in, including many key world events. The book is organised well. The text gives information on Amrita and her life, while boxes of related information such as political and artistic movements of the times is also woven around. Many of the photographs have been taken by her father, who was one of the finest photographers in India. Her beautiful paintings are spread throughout the book. This one is for keeps, and also makes a great gifting option to a child who is fond of art.
Anyone dealing with children knows that when information is presented in the form of a story or in an interactive way, children are extremely receptive and enthusiastic. These books present the lives and works of renowned Indian artists in an extremely simple, interesting and accessible way. Do indulge in these books introducing Indian artists to children!