Creative Community Engagement Process
‘Aksa’ project is a community arts project with marginalised young women in and around Ranti village in Bihar, who were interested in Madhubani art and were seeking an opportunity to learn. Alongside skill development, through this project, marginalized young women engaged in collaborative exchange of both ideas as well as life stories.
Community Engagement Goals
• Women among the marginalised section had limited opportunity for self-expression.
• They faced limited opportunity for newer skill development.
• Limited opportunity to engage collectively and collaborate through exchange of ideas and life stories.
Methods of Community Participation/Engagement
• Training workshops were organized to introduce the women to basic first phases of learning where they were taught ‘Kachni’ to ‘Bharni’ ( lining to filling colors).
• Consequently, through regular meetings they were prepared for the more intense part of the training as well as plan upcoming projects.
• The second phase involved learning how to convert ideas into the artwork. The women were encouraged to address various social issues and found a new form of expression through art.
• In order to work on contemporary local issues in the society the women were encouraged to visualize the change they wanted to see. The exercise began with collecting news clips of their choice from the newspaper and visualizing them through paintings. There were multiple stories composed in a single piece of work forming multiple perspectives on the subject.
The love for creative art of Madhubani brought the women together. The project helped build a network of artists and gain support of the larger community of patrons. The women got a platform to meet and introspect collectively on various aspects of their daily life which they would not have done otherwise, as part of the community. The community cohesion was built through skill development and practicing of common artform. The narratives of the women’s art gave expression to their life stories. It created a body of work that made a strong statement about their everyday story.
The community art project took place in Ranti, Bihar along with Studio Artbole, where the young women from the marginalised community came together and showed keen interest in learning the artform.
Art Reach India along with contemporary Madhubani artist Avinash has conceptualized the project. Women in the age group of 17-21 from the marginalized community participated in the project.
The project started from January 2021- and has been completed.
Empowering women from the marginalized sections through unique skill development is motivating for artists in a way how their works find meaning within the daily functioning of society. It provided a platform for artists who work towards community building through the various processes of art and its creation. Such projects provide platforms for dialogues around gender and is effective in bringing about changes by creating spaces for artistic expression.