VASL Art

Taaza Tareen IV

outreach program with Ida Rieu

 

Taaza Tareen IV: 4 Day Educational Outreach with deaf and blind students of Ida Reu School, Karachi

Ida Rieu Website: http://www.idarieu.org/

 

Taaza Tareen 4 brought together a group of seven individuals with varied interests and distinct work patterns as artists. Each one of the members majoring in disciplines ranging from drawing to performance also had a different vision, hence a different view to their role in their society. This debate amongst the artists was fostered by the Vasl Team who provided them with an opportunity to apply their ideology in a form of a workshop. Ida Reu -a school for deaf and blind students was selected for the purpose.

The artists were given the task of working together to make a difference in their society. This activity while enabling the artists into investigating their role in a society also acquainted them with each other’s practices and stance.

The duration of the workshop was three days long; the Taaza Tareen team brainstormed together for the main structure of the three-day long activity and then divided itself up in three groups to maximize their contribution.

The idea of the workshop was to teach the students activities that can enable them into generating an income and at the same time breakout of the activities offered by their school.

The group of deaf students had known the discipline of visual art but it was limited to a specific kind of painting only. We introduced the students to different materials and techniques that can be used as effective ways of visual communication. The students were taught making reliefs with plaster and drawings on paper. These works greatly altered the students perception of art . These activities were also later seen, being taught by the participants of the workshop to other students. They have also been added to the school curriculum for later years to come.

The other half of the school incorporated blind students. As visual art today doesn’t only rely on the sense of sight, sound was explored as the alternate medium. The blind students were to experience art making –hence self-expression through sound.

We were working towards training the students into producing a live sound performance -with a story line/narrative, voices, ambiance sounds, music etc. The students were to work together to create a space and its happenings. They had known the space around them through sound and they were trained as musicians so this activity was just to make them realize their potential for something different.

A number of exercises were held with the students, in which they were to just scream their lungs out or to speak loud and clear. Once their confidence in their own voice was acquired group dynamics were attained by Chinese whisper. It was important that they learned to listen to each other while working in collaboration. Once this was perfected more complex exercises were carried out in which they would mimic another person or create sounds of non-living things. Two days were just dedicated to lots of exercises rather than a rehearsal of a single activity. The idea was to let them work spontaneously so that they say what they want to say rather than us telling them a certain story line. This was also to enable them into working on their own later rather than under our supervision.

The students at the end of the second day came up with a sound performance that they wanted to execute themselves. It involved the pattern of radio drama in which there was an interview session performed by the students. They played a doctor, a teacher, a politician, a blind kid, and a policeman in our society. A group of students also voiced each person’s sub-conscious thought. Humorous as it was, the students presented their opinion on the deceit and virtue in our society.

Looking back at our short-term activity at the school, we are most thrilled to say that the students expressed themselves and questioned their norms. They after years of singing to the harmony of ‘Komi Geet’ were able to express their opinion about their country in a form that also remains only a performance.

 

Ferwa Ibrahim

Taaza Tareen IV - 20th Feb to 28th March 2009

 

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