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Nature is abundance in Sarawak with its vast rainforest, big and long rivers, and mighty mountains. City kids seldom notice this as they are more exposed to gadgets and other modern toys. The storytelling and bookmark making session at The Spring Baruk with Nia Latif gave some perspective to an old tradition relating to nature.

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When Nia Latif shared a story about bunga terung or eggplant flower, a traditional tattoo design motive for Dayak community, being used as a mark for a boy’s passage into manhood the children were amazed. After the storytelling session they continued with bookmark making workshop using bunga terung design. The children aged 4 to 12 years really enjoyed making their personal bookmark to take back home. They learned about Dayak culture and the significance of Gawai Dayak or harvest festival which will be celebrated on 1 June.

At SJK Chung Hua No 1 Tom McLaughlin was greeted by approximately 50 children. He started the session by asking the children to use their imagination and draw a purple man with one horn and one eye who could fly. He encouraged them to make a 3 page comic book on the character.

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Colourful comics

At the end of the session, Tom gave his comic ‘The Borneo Boy’ to all students.

Flavour of Art treated Bookaroo and Delhi Public Library Thursday morning, to some yummy colours. The session at DPL, Vinoba Puri started with the audience of about 50 students between the ages of 11 to 14 with a discussion on music. Chief Rajiv Kakria decided to take a different route than the one that was expected of him, he told the children to draw like they play Anktakshari, without inhibitions, without caring about the end result.

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Counting colours in the rainbow

He then embarked on a story the story of all the colors meeting at a round table to decide who dominates Earth. While they were settling scores, the skies graced them with a Rainbow and they realized just how much more beautiful they are united. The students were told to pick out anything from the story and let imagination take over. The results were surprising. Each interpretation taught us something new. Each work of art had its own flavor, by the end of the session one message from the story had taken many expressions.

The session with Shashi Shetye at DPS Vasant Kunj for the EWS children of the age 6-9 was filled with energy, excitement and colours. The illustrator asked the children to connect the dots on the given paper so as to bring a character to life. Once, each child found the characters, they were asked to add colors to them. The kids were aware that when some of these drawings would be brought together, a story would reveal itself. And indeed! There was the story of the sly fox, the thirsty crow and so on.

Illustrating a story

Illustrating a story

Shashi even called few kids to narrate some of these tales. Children were only too happy to tell the stories about the characters, whose mannerisms and the ways of being they shaded a while ago. It sure turned out to be a fun period for the kids where they let themselves enjoy and learn as well

A group of 15 children from 4-9 years participated in an art and crafts session with illustrator Suvidha Mistry at Vadehra Art Gallery. Suvidha introduced the idea of belonging to nature and internalizing its rhythm though few paintings and commentaries of A. Ramachandran. The latter’s work is based on the premise of being part of one’s ecology and the nature. Ramachandran inscribes this philosophy through his own paintings. In one of his works he dwelled as an insect among the flowers. He captured that imaginative journey through his vibrant paintings. Suvidha wanted the children to take in the essence of Ramachandran’s paintings. The children then watched a BBC documentary that captured the rhythms of nature. The documentary showed the lives of animals – deer’s running in their own habitat, polar cubs being born, sea horses gliding in water and many such images of the ecosystem.

Nature walk through art

Nature walk through art

Now that the idea of nature and rhythm were somewhat made clearer the children or the booklookers as they called themselves were asked to capture any rhythm of nature on paper. Suvidha told them to draw/paint anything they liked about the environment/nature. The children came up with beautiful pastel art with a little help from their teachers, Suvidha and Diti. The reading corner of the Vadehra Art Gallery was soon filled with magnificent drawings – a bunch of pink flowers, flight of a sinister owl, stroke of waves, a community of ants fetching foods while the snakes waited to attack them, a group of colorful owls having fun, a thick grove of trees and many more images. Suvidha had made the children use their imagination with colour and they had not let her down.