Giving flight to imagination with a Visual Stories workshop at JKK

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Storytelling is deeply ingrained in our culture. Listening to stories, giving flight to our fantastic imaginations, is something all of us have had the pleasure of experiencing in our childhood through our grandparents, parents and elders.  However, as we advance through school years, the rigmarole of school education and life in general erodes this unique ability in us. A recent 20-day long ‘Visual Stories’ workshop at Jawahar Kala Kendra in Jaipur attempted to reignite and remind the children of this natural ability through photographs. The workshop was organised under the mentorship of resource person Dr Tabeenah Anjum Qureshi, a noted journalist and an award winning photographer. 

The first of its kind workshop saw the participation of around 20 students from age group of 8 to 16 years at (JKK). Through a series of short exercises and experts sharing their experiences, the children were introduced to the nuances of recognising a thought, realising a feeling and then narrating a story through a single or a series of photographs. 

As many 40 photo stories and poems were created by the participants of visual stories workshop and were also displayed in the week long exhibition at JKK. In the exhibition, the sheets of their handwritten scrapbooks were framed. The scrapbook was the culminating exercise in which the children were asked to write a short fictional narrative or poem and illustrate it with a photograph taken by them from around the JKK campus.

The objective of the workshop was to create an artistic and imaginative streak in the children through their photos and writing. Each student has created a scrapbook which reflects the process he went through the entire workshop. Students were exposed to the process of articulation of thought through text, captioning and poetry. Besides this, the children were also taught basics of photography and operating a camera. The introductory session was conducted by noted photojournalist Himanshu Vyas. The students were also introduced to photo stories spanning five decades by eminent photographer, Sudhir Kasliwal. 

As a part of the curriculum students were also taken for a guided tour to Albert Hall and introduced to the historic relevance of art. In another unique exercise, students had enriching interactions with a panel of Jaipur based poets – Amit Kalla, Himanshu Vyas , Prof Mohammad Hasan and Padmaja Gungun  who helped them in ‘Visualising Poetry’. The poets recited their poems to the children. As a classroom exercise, students were asked to pen down their own poem or a favourite poem and later translate it into a image.

Besides this every Sunday a children’s classic film was screened for children by noted designer Indrajit Bose. As a special treat on Mother’s day, the children penned down a strong visual memoir of their mother. 

A story is a letter that the author writes to himself, to tell himself things that he would be unable to discover otherwise.
― Carlos Ruiz Zafón

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