On 19th July we were lucky enough to host a group of students from Dartford Science and Technology College at a workshop linked to the Silk River project. The workshop took place at the What If Gallery, and its aim was to produce a series of Indian scroll artworks, to be used as part of the Silk River project.
Alison Medd – Director of Learning, Creative Arts & Performance at DSTC – arrived with 16 x Year 10 art students ready to engage with local organisations as part of their annual community day. They were keen to get stuck in and after Julie, Sue and I explained the project and its concept, the ideas began flowing.
The workshop intended to explore the creative process and production of the traditional Bengali artform of Patachitra – whereby an aesthetic narrative is painted onto canvas scrolls, and a song composed to accompany the visual element. The scroll is ‘performed’ by unravelling the physical artwork as the song is sung and the story explained.
As part of the Silk River project which we have worked on recently with Dartford Borough Council, the What If Gallery artists and Kinetika, Dartford was twinned with a town in India along the Hooghly River – Howrah. Two artists from the town visited us in a workshop late last year, and performed their own Patachitra to share their artistic culture with us. I filmed the performance at the time and showed it to the DSTC students before the workshop began, along with some background information.
Through the workshop, the girls have become aware of an important artistic tradition which is embedded in the culture of this far-off Indian town with linked to their own. Hopefully they will be able to perform these works as part of the Silk River event in Dartford on 20th September, which will strengthen that link, encompassing the aims of the overall project in engaging local people and particularly up and coming artists.