It was sometime around high school that I knew I wanted to be an artist. Unfortunately, financial constraints and limited exposure led to me to believe that art was not a viable career. A part of my motivation behind starting the Scribble Foundation is to dispel this myth by engaging with full-time artists, and helping them share their stories with larger, and younger, audiences.
Somewhere between working a nine-to-five job with incredibly long hours, I asked myself the loaded question: What next? I gave myself the choice of either pursuing art myself, or bringing art into the lives of those who wouldn't normally have the opportunity to engage with it. Well ... I chose the latter, and decided to dedicate a lot more time to art education and replaced my office commitments with freelance engagements in the academic editing industry.
So, today, I'm a 28-year-old who was born and raised in Mumbai, and is a part of an art movement called Scribble Foundation.We conducted our first workshop in January 2012, at an orphanage near my home. I began talking to my family and friends about what I wanted to do. An artist friend who was excited as I was about the idea agreed to conduct the first workshop. By the end of that day, when I saw the excitement and engagement levels of all the children, I knew I was on to something important. We have since gone on to conduct several workshops across various institutions.
A project I definitely consider an accomplishment is the Classroom Canvas Project.
The underlying objective is to help students at all ages realise that they can be creators, and not just consumers, of the world they live in, which is a lesson we hope they carry over into adult life. We started off by painting what we thought was best for the classrooms, but over time realised how much more important it is for the concepts and designs to come from the children themselves. After all, we are a temporary phase in their lives; it is the children who continue using these classrooms in the long run. So we began conducting orientations or introductory workshops, asking them what they would like to see on the walls or conducting activities that get them more physically involved, like making up a story and enacting it. Somewhere along the way, we also realised how important it is to fix classroom walls before we painted murals and so, in addition to artist travel and painting, we began raising funds to refurbish classrooms.
You'd be surprised how much of a difference just whitewashing old classrooms makes. We also conduct a summer edition of the project which is for a whole four weeks. We have art students intern with us. Last year we painted at four locations: Mumbai, Goa, Dharamsala, and Pune. This year, we spent a whole month in Kaliko village near Balasore, Orissa.
A day at Scribble has always been atypical, especially during the Classroom Canvas Project.