The village of Kanhai in Gurugram has been famous since medieval times for its association with the Hindu God Krishna, sharing the namesake with the colloquial usage of Kanhaiya.
The tiny village is also believed to be the site where the legendary teacher Dronacharya taught his disciples.
Today, Kanhai is a forgotten place, largely inhabited by economically weaker families.
But now, a community art project bringing to the fore unheard talents from the village is making waves in the region.
Under the Growing Gurgaon initiative, the first of its kind, art projects undertaken by students from underprivileged households are all set for display in the community park of Kanhai and Good Earth, Gurugram.
“The festival aims to amplify their voices to a wider public audience and facilitate their community to engage with their projects,” Swati Janu, an architect who is one of the curators of the project, told The Better India.
Giving wings to the initiative is Udaan, a civil society organisation that has been operating as an art academy for underprivileged children in Gurgaon.
Providing deserving students with a formal education in art and thereby enabling them to transform their passion into a life-skill, the organisation’s founder Shikha Agarwal strives to provide these talented children with an opportunity to pursue art as a professional career.
“The students’ artworks have been developed through an extensive process of independent research, analysis and individual creative responses that was guided by myself and Friederike Thonke starting from May. Several other artists and designers have actively assisted in the project,” Swati adds.
The art project was conceptualised by the community youth as a conscious response to their urban realities.
From growing garbage piles of plastic to paying respects to the thankless profession of a night guard, the artworks reflect the social realities that most of us conveniently turn a blind eye to.
One of the installations is a wire mesh cow, ‘Chasing the Cow’ by Kishan Sahu.
“My idea took root from my Kanhai village where I saw cows eating garbage. Wanting to do something for them and spread awareness on the issue, I made a sculpture of a cow with wire mesh filled with milk plastic bags to talk about how the cows end up eating garbage which ironically produces the same milk that their calves consume,” says Kishan.
Another one of the amazing projects is ‘The Lost Lake’ put together by Komal Rawat.
“The idea started from Kanhai village and its shortage of water. After talking to the older residents, I had realised that what is now the Ramlila ground, used to be a lake a few years back. So, I decided to talk about the story of the lost lake and made a mental map of Kanhai and surrounding areas in 3D in which I have shown how some people get more water, and some people have less,” she explains.
Following are some of the photographs that give a peek into what went behind the entire project:
Rolling out today, the Growing Gurgaon community art project is open to everyone and will continue until September 16.
You can reach out to Udaan at email@example.com or 9910994310.