Weekends are nearly exclusively time for friends and family. We also try and catch events, exhibitions and shows on weekends. Today, we were able to kill two birds with one stone at the Gurgaon Art Mart at Epicentre, where a dear friend’s mother who is also a favourite aunt to us was exhibiting her art for the very first time. Lekha Aunty is a natural and her work was very interesting. It was also fun to see the sheer variety of art work, both in terms technique and sensibility.
Of course, reactions from Udai and Aadyaa were a source of constant amusement and amazement. Where do children get the knack for understanding art? They see and interpret so astutely, it puts most adults to shame. At one point, I heard Udai having a detailed conversation about a particular painting with the artist, who seemed genuinely curious to hear the perspective of an eight year old. Aadyaa went around pointing work she liked rather spontaneously, rather guided by color and form as one would expect from a child her age. Krishna as a theme resonates with her strongly and there were plenty of depictions of both Krishna and Ganesh. I was glad see less of the Buddha, who has become some sort of urban craze and dominated the pop art scene for years.
The icing on the cake for the kids was the opportunity to paint on canvases open to the public. They really went for it, both of them, opting for big bold strokes. Outside in the amphitheatre, Danceworks put up some interesting choreography in the contemporary style, which immediately inspired the kid to perform their own antics.
Cultural spaces like the Epicentre, though a tad too formal for my liking, are a boon to places like Gurgaon. A much needed oasis in a cultural desert. Today, I enjoyed experiencing the space and the art through the eyes of my kids.
For a long time, I’ve had this idea of having bi-monthly outings for family and friends. And the past few years, I’ve steadily worked to bring the idea to fruition, though the frequency has been far lower than desired! These outings are meant to be opportunities to experience our city and what it has to offer from the point of view of culture, open spaces and architecture, especially heritage.
Today, we trekked to the National Gallery of Modern Art to see ‘Project Cinema City’. Of course, going to Jaipur House, where NGMA resides, is a wonderful roller coaster through the best landmarks of Lutyens Delhi. The Rashtrapati Bhavan and the North and South Blocks, then India Gate are always a treat. Bathed the special light of monsoon, they looked particularly inviting.
The exhibition itself was a wonderful kaleidoscope of experiences. My kids have been dragged to exhibitions before and while Udai is a patient child and truly enjoys art, Aadyaa is much more restless and needs a bit more engagement. This time, I needn’t have worried. The display was wonderfully interactive and innovatively done. Sound, light, movement, color were all used to create a wonderful correlation between all the visual arts- cinema, fine art, architecture, sculpture, photography- against the backdrop of the theme, which intended to study the effects of cinema on the city and how we experience it. The children particularly enjoyed being able to turn a wheel and make a film reel of images move, thereby being able to enlarge specific images at will. They also enjoyed the bit where they could sit atop an exer-cycle and view their self-image on a screen in front, with an exciting backdrop that kept transforming as they pedaled! What’s more, they could change camera angles using a switch and it gave them a wonderful feel of how a cinematic projection can be created and how exciting that process can be! Old telephone instruments on which you could hear recordings of dialogue and song specially put together for this project, recordings that conjured specific themes or eras in Indian cinema. Posters that can make you roll with laughter, though a few were too debauched for the kids to grasp, thank God!
The icing on the cake, as usual, is the wonderful green space outside which doubles up as a sculpture garden. While Nupur and Amma did a quick round of the museum’s permanent collection, Rahul and me watched the kids chase birds, watch ants and centipedes and run around the lawns, every now and then stopping to peer at one or the other metal or stone sculpture. Expressions ranged from puzzled to amused, indifferent to amazed.
A wonderful trip and one that the kids will remember and cherish, I am sure. I hope to do many more such trips with more people joining in. I believe the Delhi NCR region has so much to offer, we should sieze that opportunity and enjoy the explorations with our children so that they grow to be culturally sensitized, with a strong sense of identity. To me, that is a critical attribute that really sets a person apart!
Here are some pics I took today. You can see we had fun!
Changing media scenario: Can we be responsible for how we ingest and relay information? May 19, 2012
A few of us friends got together for dinner today, one of them an army officer. Talk inevitably, amid loads of nostalgic discussions about school times, turned to the attitude of the media about sensitive issues like corruption, defense, etc.
There were two opinions on the issue. One, that the media hypes issues, even at times perverts facts to sensationalize. The other, that the media, in whatever way, plays the role of a watchdog in society and the content should be looked at in that perspective, perhaps with a bit of salt but also with grains of truth hidden in there.
I have a few more thoughts to add. Media is the only source of information for a citizen on many issues relevant to his life. Therefore, to be irresponsible on the part of media and to carry content that actually misleads the public in unethical. On the other hand, people consume news and opinions guided by their interests, sensibilities and political leanings. Therefore, no matter how varied the opinions carried by media, it is not really drastically changing thought processes, only influencing them to some extent.
At this time, when both economics and politics are being tested in our country, a skeptical attitude to media is dangerous. With social networking sites and a variety of digital media rewriting the way we relay and ingest information, the question of who takes responsibility for providing well-researched, authentic information or expert opinions is a very different and much larger one. We consume the media, but we also are the media, so how about we each start with being responsible and honest ourselves about what we communicate?