Collaborative Work Of Art

This project was created with a group of women in an old age home. This home provides roof and care to women who were abandoned here by their respective families. Also, these women are differently abled or psychosocial disability. They are under medication for different psychological issues.Each woman suffers from a different challenge.

I conducted a workshop with these women.This workshop was conducted as a response to  the course I did during my MA programme in Visual Art. The course was called Explorations in Concept and Media – Community Art/Collaboration/Public Art. I was a familiar face at the old age home (I had been visiting them for several years now) and hence I could manage to elicit participation from these women. Approximately 50 women actively took part in the workshop I planned out in the space. I had to take permission beforehand for the workshop and had to clearly explain what my intentions were (which are not commercial). My friend and I arranged for the supplies separately which included oil pastels, sketchpens, pencil colors and A4 sized sheets. Their prayer hall was emptied accordingly for the activity. Everyone chooses their options for colors and sheets. No other instructions were given regarding what to draw or write. It took a little bit of time for them to adjust but then eventually they all drew something. My mom helped some of the willing participants by holding their hand to help them draw so that they can also participate. In the end I helped them write down their names and collected the drawings. We clapped for every drawing by showing them in the end and everyone cheered for the participation. 

Disability runs in my head more than any other thought but to make an artwork about it or with it is even further difficult. The choice of working with these kindred spirits made it easy for me to bridge the gap between their world to ours. Had it been for a complete stranger to come and address them about the drawings it would have been different. I could sit and interact with them while drawing where I was making a flower or balloon and they were drawing these abstract images of their thoughts. The bond of so many years of me visiting the home helped them comfortably fill the sheets. Looking at what they have drawn forced me to think about how every one of them is different. There was some kind of repetition over and over of the same number, or there was a dire need to fill all the page, or there was an intricate pattern drawn on just one side of the page, or some had an alien kind of creature telling a story in some other language. The interaction was very interesting and the outcome was worth the experience.

For the initial exhibition i had planned to put these sketches on the wall from top to bottom, letting the viewer interact with each one at a time. The purpose was to let the drawings sink in and then explain about the process of how these drawings got onto this wall. I wanted people to see the similar emotions running through the room with different mediums of art work and I wanted these to be a part of the whole. Me being accessible or finding comfort in such areas makes me feel calm with my differences. In the same way I see them as a part of me or the society, they should be seen by everyone. I wanted to send the message that it’s okay to be different.