So a small village in Punjab after many years of wandering with my wares. A simple five days brought vitality and joy to 38 children in a government school in a small village in Khanpur Punjab, Nava Shaher district.
How did that happen? How did the creative arts with drawing, bit of drama, bit of games, loads of laughter brought in so much of joy. The idea that something like this could happen out of the blue with these children who come from these so called backward classes in India must seem extraordinary to me as well as them. It’s about the idea that there is someone outside their world could come and care for these children and to me that somewhere there they were waiting for me.
These bring about certain reflective question about my identity and role. So am I teacher, perhaps yes, am I an artist, perhaps yes definitely paint a bit. Do something artistic; direct a play once in a while. Then am I a development worker, was yes for a bit. So with all these multiple identities, how does one integrate oneself as what? A healer with the arts, how does that explain itself, a trainer with the arts, how does one explain oneself. So how does a thing like reveal itself? Perhaps it reveals itself as an artist worker. Who is the artist worker, he works with creative arts and works with all human beings, such as children, men, women, different communities.
This is a opportunity for people to belong to the medium of expression, to belong to the community. From the fringe of one’s own existence to celebrate, to bring about a sense of joy, an idea to fruition, a skill to be harnessed. A hope to be born, visions to be build. Metaphors to be created. The artist bring life to the canvas, the artist brings joy to itself or unhappiness depending on the creative reflection of colours . However the artist worker is a facilitator of the arts among various communities, it’s a poser of questions that trigger the imagination. However painful can be this journey of self-realization the human emotions are the things we work with and with themes that operate like metaphors organizing our self’s into a re alignment of our senses. The senses which are programmed to a certain kind of existence. A existence which could be suffering or a stagnant reality.
In Khanpur things were dead, the children’s voices did not leave the walls of the school yard to trail anywhere outside. The large houses all shut up , the children of low caste wandering in the shadows of these havelis that light up no charm , no incense of delight . These empty buildings make it seem like a ghost town. So in this small village of rich Punjab, working with the Dalit population, the idea was to infuse the idea of creation, to do funky stuff, to spark a light
To get them to share the space of creation, to be in charge of something, to go beyond the culture of domination, to be revitalised. This is exactly what happened. I leave with this powerful feeling of sharing gifts; but nothing like working with children and give them sheer excitement and joy. To see their vulnerability getting expressed and fill up with great enthusiasm. The work of the artist worker is established when such things happen like a connection with the self and the world, the medium of life, the ability to organise oneself, to become a thinking person.
The idea of working with 7 billion population seems difficult but let’s start somewhere with 38 children in a tiny dot of a village in one school. So I started , the opportunity which never got from my parents to study the arts, over the years have funded myself and will use it to show the efficacy of the arts so that it becomes known that art is not only purposeful but its Tran sportive ability is transformative in nature.
So perhaps the artist worker deals with the art of transforming human beings. The colors’ re work the senses that are programmed in a particular way , re assess life’s ways that are set in a particular ways , and this allows reflection to take place which alters mind sets , patterns , and brings about new energy in the hearts of those who are willing to dive into the world the artist worker facilitates.