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The teachers say it all

For the first time Delhi saw an exhibition of art works by the teachers of South Delhi Polytechnic for Women. RANA SIDDIQUI reports.



A work of art from the exhibition at IHC.

SO FAR, we have seen students of art colleges coming together for group shows. This past week, Delhi saw a group of teachers joining hands to prove their versatility through the medium of painting, sculptures, prints and installations. Teachers of South Delhi Polytechnic for Women mounted an exhibition at the Habitat's Visual Arts Gallery which not only gave an insight into what they are doing as art teachers but also their individualistic expression that does not form a part of the art syllabus.

So one saw well known Ananda Moy Bannerji's works on dance performances, Deepti Chopra's canvas depicting a ray of hope after tsunami devastation, Jayant Gajera's expression of lights through prints, Aruna Puri's reflections, Priyanka's splendid wood creation and so on.

Breaking free

This exhibition reflected that teachers are also breaking free from the shackles of established norms of art presentation. Now they don't think that digital painting or prints do not form a part of the art. "Surface is not important, creativity is. And only creativity means art," says a senior teacher J.K. Batish. "It is like a journey. And in a journey you are not likely to find only one kind of road. Same goes with the medium. It changes expressions according to changing times," says Reyhan Chaudhuri. And interestingly, the teachers did not find their students rushing for abstract without understanding the nuances of realism.

"It is the choice of the students. We teach them the basics of art making. If they find it best to express them in abstract from the very beginning, why stop them?" asks Veena Saith. While most agreed that a course in art appreciation be incorporated in the current syllabus, they also felt sore about the negligible coverage of art in the media.

"On one hand we are talking about a course in art appreciation, on the other we don't find venues for its expression. I find it strange," says Bannerji.

But K. Deshprabhu, who is also a critic, laments, "What coverage can you expect from media when a graduate in English, who does not understand art a bit, comes and interviews you. With art going great guns, media should also deal with the subject with sensitivity."

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