We teamed up once again with City As Lab India to help young researchers illustrate their findings with the help of art. On 3 March 2019, we introduced a class of 80 children to the vivid world of Phad paintings. The workshops, held at CSMVS in Mumbai, were broken up into two batches of about 40 students each and led by Sarmaya intern Kuhu Kopariha and our Experience and Outreach Associate Mitisha Mehta. Kuhu explained the history and iconography embedded in this ancient Rajasthani art form, which is rooted in the faith of the nomadic Rebari tribe. Phads are meant to be 'performed' and not just viewed like you would any other painting. The students grasped this concept immediately and were excited to create and perform their own art works. Their subjects were drawn from the projects they undertook for City As Lab—these included civic issues as well as more contemporary social phenomena. They showed great innovation in connecting mythological characters like you might see in a Phad with more modern ills. For instance, one student created a character called Bravan to embody the health hazards of eating white bread. It was an education to watch these young minds experiment with the form and create completely original works.
WATCH: A young researcher from our workshop explains her Phad painting on the theme of body image and its effects on self-esteem.