Objectives of the practice:
The Context: The College represents a microcosm of the population of J&K and Ladakh. This region is a repository of rich Dogra, Buddhist and Kashmiri culture. Students coming from remote corners of the Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir including Ladakh belong to different cultural backgrounds, diverse ethnic groups and economically discrete sections. Most of these regions are still underexplored in terms of cultural richness, food habits, diversity of flora and fauna, festivals, places of historical importance, tourism potential, religious places, sources of economy etc. Students of these regions are themselves the messengers of the regional heritages, epitomes of raw talents, unmindful of their inherent strengths and weaknesses, unaware of the opportunities available, clueless about the career ahead etc. This mosaic group of girls brimming with talent and untapped energy deserves some creative space without any interference, any inhibitory notion, any unnecessary competition and peer pressure. A space that provides opportunity to a girl to talk to herself, work with tools and articles to give vent to the nascent talent lying hidden somewhere within.
The Practice: Being mindful of the fact, that a rich pool of talent and raw skill sets remain hidden in most of the enrolled students the College has put in place a multitude of facilities for conventional activities like games, cultural events etc. Besides these activities of conventional nature, non conventional activities centres established in the College stand to bring to the fore certain creative skills which remin embedded under the layers of tradition, inhibition, cultural dogmas and low levels of confidence within the girls. Open Art Club is one such centre that facilitates the girls to rip open the cover of inhibition and shyness thereby allows them to recognize their own capabilities and hidden talents. The club provides a working space to the girls to fiddle with materials of art like paints, brushes, broken bottles; discarded plastic materials plant parts (seeds, Leaves, Flowers, Spines etc) to identify their creative talent. These and many other materials including the work space are provided by the College. The students are informed through class representative and notices displayed on notice boards about such a facility available in the College. Large number of students show interest and make use of this facility thereby give exposure to their creative talents by creating out of the box creations from simple materials like seeds, leaves , flowers, old bottles, cloth etc. The college identifies the talented students who have demonstrated their prowess in some specific traits, and thereafter enrols them for diploma or certificate courses in Art and crafts.
Uniqueness: This practice is unique in itself for the fact that the College attempts to provide the required initial kindling impetus to the students of varied denominations to understand themselves in terms of the creative talent. The College enrolment number goes up to 6000 students in a year, and it is normal to expect, that a large number of students shall be blessed with certain special talents but due to inhibitions or lack of initial motivation these specific traits remain untapped. With limited efforts this practice helps the students to realise their creative abilities by themselves.
Limitations: The main constrain is the difficulty to break the traditional inhibitions which seem to have entrenched in the psyche of the girls. These inhibitions detach the students from any other activity beyond the routine ones.
Evidences of Success: Over the years a large number of students have taken part in activities like, decorating plastic and glass bottles of different sizes and shapes with coloured ribbons and paints of different colours. Landscape paintings, greeting cards from plant specimens, cloth bags have been made. Needle and thread work has been used to decorate curtains, handkerchiefs, cloth bags, pillow covers and face masks. Paintings of flowers and many creative designs have been drawn on plastic trays to give them decorative look. Further, exhibitions of these art works have been organized during celebrations associated with various local festivals. Owing to the interest generated in the students during the activities carried out in this Open Art Club and the splendid items of art carved out from simple raw materials, the College administration thought it appropriate to sign a MoU with Budha Art Gallery, Jammu to provide training to some students under the banner of Art and Crafts centre of the College.
Problems Encountered and Resources required:
- Provide an opportunity to the students to identify their creative Talent.
- Recognize ethnic and traditional arts.
- Use waste material for creative work.
- Use plant parts for creative work.
- Availability of sufficient space.
- Deficiency of a trained Art teacher who can chisel the raw talent of the students and raise it to the next level. The skill thus imparted can make the students employable in any art related establishment.
- Students get very little time to work on these and many other hidden talents in them.
- College administration / Higher Education Department could pass on instructions to the education institutions to earmark time for such activities as a mandatory requirement.
- Proper budgetary provisions are required to be earmarked for such activities.
- Sufficient materials are required to be made available to the students for practice.