This is a story from the art team co-leader in our US office, who led a short-term trip to work with our South Asia team this summer. This was her second visit to that team. She led a group of interns, staff, and ballet dancers from the local community to teach art classes and dance classes through programs already established by our long-term team on the field.
As I reflect on my journey, I hold the smiling faces of the children of the villages and the gallery in my head as my favorite memory. I experienced the raw joy of those children make art. I saw their creativity come from an instinctual place. It was amazing to have the chance to be a part of that. That joy that comes in creating is why I do what I do. That’s why I must make art. I have to share with others the joy it brings me to craft something for someone to enjoy.
The first Friday of our trip, part of our group accompanied the South Asia team to a Muslim village school. This school consisted of three classrooms with 60 children total, ranging from 4-12 years old. Using an interpreter, we helped them paint a mural, sketch, and play with watercolors. It was amazing to see how well the children responded to the opportunity to make art. It was a lot of fun leading our team and watching them all become instant art teachers!
Saturday the rest of our team, plus the others from the South Asia team, visited the first village’s sister school at another nearby village. There it was just one small room with 50 kids. They were all about the same age as the first group. Most of the children were hesitant to sketch and paint on their own, so I improvised and led step-by-step lessons on the chalkboard. We drew a face and a flower together. After they got warmed up, they really loved getting to color in what they had drawn.
Later in the week we held art classes at the gallery run by the South Asia team. This gallery is over a year old and is the second art gallery in the city.
During the art classes we held at the gallery, we were able to work more closely with children who spoke English. They were so naturally talented and inquisitive. They asked what kind of art I made and why. I explained my love of jewelry and Jesus.
It was amazing, at the end of the week, to see all their work up in an art show for the community. Each child’s face lit up when they found their piece on the wall. It made me proud to see how proud they were of their work.